Annual Accounts & Annual Returns: They Are Different

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filing obligationsThis is the most common mistake that we come across; the mixing up of annual returns and annual accounts. We’re on a mission to make sure that no one ever confuses the two filing obligations again. So in this, part one of said mission, we’re going to define exactly what each one is and what sets the two apart.

Annual Accounts

What are they?

Annual accounts are the annual financial report of a limited company. They are delivered to Companies House.

When are they due?

A company’s first accounts should be delivered no later than 21 months after incorporation. The next set of accounts should then be delivered no later than 9 months from the next accounting reference date. Accounts can be delivered as soon as the accounting reference date has passed, there’s no need to wait until the due date.

What happens if they’re filed late?

Companies House will impose a fine. The amount of the fine depends on how late the accounts are filed. A fine is only imposed if accounts are filed late, if the accounts are overdue a company can avoid a fine by a filing a dissolution instead.

What happens if they’re not filed at all?

The company will eventually be dissolved by Companies House.

Filing information

Accounts can be delivered online directly with Companies House. Even if a company is dormant, they are still required to deliver “Dormant Company Accounts”.

Annual Returns

What are they?

Annual returns are a snapshot of general company information (address, appointment and share information).

When are they due?

A company’s first annual returns should not be filed any later than 1 year and 28 days after incorporation. The next return would then be due exactly a year later. Annual returns can be filed on any date before the due date (filing early will change the due date of the next return).

What happens if they’re filed late?

Companies House will send a letter threatening legal action against the directors and the dissolution of the company.

What happens if they’re not filed at all?

The company will eventually be dissolved by Companies House.

Filing information

Returns can be delivered online directly with Companies House. You will find our range of annual return services here: Annual Returns.

This post was brought to you by Mathew Aitken at Companies Made Simple – The Simplest Company Formation Service

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