Filing Deadlines for Company Accounts

Filing your company accounts on time is not just a legal obligation, but a crucial aspect of maintaining transparency, building trust with stakeholders, financial mastery and avoiding hefty penalties. Whether you’re a seasoned business leader or navigating the early stages of your entrepreneurial journey, understanding the intricacies of filing deadlines is essential for smooth operations.

This comprehensive guide provides an in-depth exploration of filing deadlines for companies in the UK, along with practical tips and valuable resources to ensure timely and accurate submission.

Understanding the Filing Deadlines

The normal deadline for filing private limited company accounts is nine months after the company’s financial year-end, known as the accounting reference date. For example, many companies have a year-end, known as the accounting reference date. For example, many companies have a year-end date of 31 March and are therefore required to file their accounts by 31 December. For public companies, the time limit is six months from the year-end. 

The deadline for filing your first set of accounts with Companies House can be complicated. 

  • Standard Deadlines:
    • Private Limited Companies: 9 months after the financial year-end (accounting reference date).
    • Public Limited Companies: 6 months after the financial year-end.
  • First Set of Accounts:
    • Private Companies:
      • Covering >12 months: 21 months from incorporation (or 3 months from accounting reference date, whichever is later).
      • Covering ≤12 months: Standard deadline applies.
    • Public Companies: 18 months from incorporation (or 3 months from accounting reference date, whichever is later).

Navigating the Specific Filing Deadlines

  • Accounting Reference Date (ARD): This crucial date marks the end of your company’s financial year and sets the starting point for calculating the filing deadline. Ensure you know your ARD accurately, as any discrepancies can lead to complications.
  • Dormant Companies: If your company qualifies as dormant, you benefit from reduced filing requirements. However, specific regulations still apply, so consult the official guidance from Companies House:
  • Changes in ARD: If you decide to change your ARD, remember to inform Companies House within 14 days. Failure to do so can result in penalties.
  • Dissolution or Strike Off: If you’re dissolving or striking off your company, different deadlines and procedures apply. Refer to the Companies House website for detailed information:

Essential Resources For Filing Deadlines For Company Accounts

Filing For Company Accounts Made Easy

  • Embrace Online Filing: Companies House offers a convenient and efficient online filing system, streamlining the process and reducing the risk of errors.
  • Prepare Early: Don’t wait until the last minute. Gather all necessary documentation well in advance to ensure a smooth submission process.
  • Seek Professional Help: While many companies handle their accounts internally, complex situations or limited accounting expertise might necessitate seeking guidance from professional accountants. They can ensure accuracy, adherence to regulations, and timely filing, saving you time and potential penalties.

Tips on Filing Deadlines For Company Accounts 

  • Penalties for Late Filing: Missing deadlines triggers automatic penalties that escalate based on the duration of the delay and company type. Familiarise yourself with the penalty structure to avoid unnecessary financial burdens.
  • Transparency and Trust: Timely filing of accounts showcases your commitment to transparency and accountability, fostering trust with investors, creditors, and other stakeholders.
  • Tax Implications: Ensure your accounts align with your tax obligations. Late filing of accounts can trigger delays in tax return processing and potential tax penalties.


  • Stay Updated: Regulations and deadlines can change, so regularly check for updates from Companies House and relevant professional bodies.
  • Seek Expert Advice: When in doubt, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from accounting professionals. Their expertise can save you time, money, and ensure complete compliance.
  • Proactive Approach: By understanding the deadlines, utilising available resources, and planning ahead, you can ensure timely and accurate filing, fostering a culture of compliance and protecting your business from unnecessary penalties.

If you want to learn more about mastering your finances, get in touch with our expert team of accountants and financial advisors today.