Service: Bookkeeping and accounts 

Companies House year-end filing regime explained

By Matthew Selfe

29 Sep 2021

As we approach the 30 September filing deadline (a busy time for accountants as those entities with a 31 December year-end must file) I have detailed below the key points to know about the filing regime.

Filing deadline

Limited companies and LLPs (Limited Liability partnerships) have 9 months from the year end to file their financial statements on public record at companies house. This differs in the first year (when the filing must be made within 21 months of incorporation)  and for PLCs (which have a 6 month filing deadline).

Penalty regime

If the filing is made late, the entity will be liable for a late filing penalty. Penalties are levied on a sliding scale starting at £150 (£750 for PLCs), with incremental increases up to £1,500 (£7,500 for PLC’s) if more than 6 months late. The penalty is doubled if the filing was late in the prior year.

Accounting Reference Date (‘’ARD’’)

Every entity has an accounting reference date to which financial statements are prepared annually (eg – 31 December). However, the financial statements can be prepared to a date that is +/- 7 days of this. An entity with an ARD of 31 December could file financial statements with a year end date of between 24 December and 7 January. This is used frequently by those businesses in the retail sector, who prefer to report on a 52/53 week basis.

Changing the ARD

It may be appropriate to change the ARD of an entity, for example from 31 December to 31 March. This can be done, but careful consideration should be taken as it cannot then be changed for another 5 years (unless being changed to align with its parent company). It is also important to note that a set of financial statements cannot be longer than 18 months or shorter than 6 months. 

Initial ARD

When a company is first incorporated, the ARD will default to a year from the end of the month of incorporation. This can be changed either during the incorporation process or subsequent. It is important to choose an appropriate date that works for you and your business. As an example, football clubs tend to have an accounting date at the end of season!

Filing options

The size of the entity dictates the filing options that are available. If the entity qualifies for the micro or small entity regime a much-reduced disclosure framework can be used. This would negate the need to publicly file the profit and loss account, amongst others.

Filing format

Companies house accept financial statements for filing in paper form, they must be signed and dated in black ink and sent to the Cardiff office. Most accounting firms use software for bookkeeping and preparing financial statements, and this allows us to file electronically. Typically these are then available to view at companies house within a few hours.

Dormant accounts

If the entity has not traded in the year, dormant accounts can be filed with companies house. Dormant entities are those defined as not having had significant transactions in the year. Significant transactions do not include the following.

  • Companies house filing fees
  • Penalties for late filing of financial statements
  • Money paid for shares when the company was incorporated

If you would like to discuss anything we have covered in this article or find out more, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Get in touch Back to top

To download this pdf, please provide the following information.