7 common year-end filing questions answered

7 common year-end filing questions answered

Filing end-of-year accounts can be a complicated affair, involving many different areas of your books. As a result, there are a number of common queries that arise. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked year-end questions.

1. What are end-of-year accounts?

‘End-of-year accounts’ is the term commonly used for the annual preparation and filing of final accounts to Companies House by limited companies and limited liability partnerships (LLPs). 

Although treated as separate from end-of-year accounts, a limited company’s Company Tax Return (which contains the CT600 form used to calculate the company’s Corporation Tax liability) is also usually filed to HMRC around this time.

These filings let the relevant authorities know how much profit the business has made and calculate how much tax they owe.

2. When do end-of-year accounts have to be filed?

There are slightly different due dates for Company Tax Returns and final accounts:

Company Tax Returns

Company Tax Returns have to be filed to HMRC 12 months after the end of a company’s accounting period for Corporation Tax, which is usually the same as the company’s accounting year. For example, if your company’s accounting period for Corporation Tax ends on 31st March, its Company Tax Return is due by 31st March of the following year - so the Company Tax Return for the accounting period that ended on 31st March 2021 would be due by 31st March 2022.

Remember that the company also has to pay the Corporation Tax bill. This is due nine months and one day after the accounting period for Corporation Tax ends, so you’ll also have to prepare the return by this date if you’re using it to calculate how much Corporation Tax the company has to pay.

Final accounts

​​The deadline for filing final accounts to Companies House is nine months after your company’s accounting year ends. However, if you’ve just registered a new company, the first accounts are due 21 months after the date of registration - which can come sooner than you think.

You can find out more about the dates for filing on HMRC’s guide to accounts and tax returns.

3. Can I file Company Tax Returns and final accounts myself?

If your business is a limited company, you can either file the Company Tax Return and final accounts yourself or you can get an accountant to do it for you. There is no legal requirement for the end-of-year accounts to be prepared by an accountant, but due to their complexity, many company directors ask the company’s accountant to prepare and file them on their behalf.

If you’re filing through FreeAgent, we strongly recommend asking an accountant to review your company’s accounts and tax forms before submitting them to Companies House or HMRC. If you work with an accountant who is a FreeAgent Partner, you won’t have access to end-of-year-accounts functionality in your FreeAgent account, and your accountant will file your company’s final accounts and Company Tax Returns on your behalf. 

4. How do I file end-of-year accounts if my business has had no income?

If your company hasn’t traded and therefore has no Corporation Tax to pay, you can let HMRC know not to expect any tax by filling in the ‘nil to pay’ form - but bear in mind that alongside this you must also file the company’s Company Tax Return as usual. Final accounts should also be sent to Companies House, even if the company is dormant.

5. What’s the penalty for filing late?

HMRC and Companies House issue penalties for both the late filing of Company Tax Returns and of final accounts:

Company Tax Returns

There are varying penalties depending on how long after the deadline HMRC receives the company’s return:

Time after deadline Penalty
1 day £100
3 months Another £100
6 months HMRC will estimate the company’s tax bill and add 10%
12 months Another 10% of any unpaid tax

If your Company Tax Return is less than six months late and you have a reasonable excuse, you can appeal the penalty.

Final accounts

As above, Companies House issues varying penalties depending on how late you file the company’s accounts:

Time after deadline Penalty
Up to 1 month £150
1-3 months £375
3-6 months £750
More than 6 months £1500

You can also appeal the above penalties by getting in touch with Companies House.

6. Can I file the company’s accounts and Company Tax Return on paper?

Company Tax Returns

Company Tax Returns must now all be filed online, either through HMRC’s own website or through compatible accounting software. 

Final accounts

For final accounts, online filing is not yet compulsory so you can either file online or send your company’s accounts through the post.

Filing online in FreeAgent

With FreeAgent, limited company directors can file final accounts (FRS 105 micro-entity reports) and Corporation Tax (CT600) forms directly to the relevant authorities from the software. Find out more about end-of-year filing in FreeAgent.

7. Can I make changes once the end-of-year accounts have been filed?

Company Tax Returns

You are able to amend your company's Company Tax Return after it’s been filed if you do so within six months of the filing deadline. You can make a change to the return by logging in to your HMRC online services account and following the prompts to amend the Company Tax Return.

Final accounts

You can also amend your company’s final accounts after they’ve been filed, but you’ll have to send a paper version of the form in order to do so, and both sets of accounts will be on the public record. Find out more about making changes to final accounts.

If you have any further questions about end-of-year accounts, you can get in touch with HMRC or Companies House to clarify, or you can ask your accountant for help.

Disclaimer: The content included in this blog post is based on our understanding of tax law at the time of publication. It may be subject to change and may not be applicable to your circumstances, so should not be relied upon. You are responsible for complying with tax law and should seek independent advice if you require further information about the content included in this blog post. If you don't have an accountant, take a look at our directory to find a FreeAgent Practice Partner based in your local area.

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