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Limited company accounts: dates, deadlines and procedures

Small business owners take on a number of accounting responsibilities when forming a limited company. There are various dates, deadlines, and procedures for your limited company accounts. A good accountant should keep you informed of what needs to be done, when and how. In fact, they’ll do most of the work for you (as the Crunch accountants do).

Nonetheless, it’s good to be aware of all the processes and deadlines, especially if the accountant has yet to earn your trust!

Incorporation date

This is the date on which your limited company was formed. If you haven’t formed your company yet, then our website can help you do it in a flash.

There are some important legal company documents that are needed, these are all explained on the Go Limited site. It’s key you get the right advice here, in order for your limited company to be structured to your needs.

Company accounts

Every company must prepare accounts that report on the performance and activities of the company during the financial year.

A company financial year starts on the day after the previous financial year ended or, in the case of a new company, on the day of incorporation. Financial years are determined by reference to an Accounting Reference Period (ARPs). The financial period ends on the accounting reference date.

For all new companies, the first accounting reference date is the last day of the month in which its first anniversary falls. The following years accounting reference dates will automatically be on the same date each year. There’s more information on company accounts in our article: Year end accounts checklist.

Company Tax Return

The company tax return – which includes the corporation tax return – must be done on an annual basis using the incorporation date as the point of reference.

The Company Tax Return includes:

  • Your company tax return form (CT600 online or paper version) which includes your self-assessment of corporation tax – in other words, how much you’ve calculated that the taxman needs to take away.

  • Your company’s accounts, tax calculations that are needed, plus any other relevant information or supporting documents.

Confirmation statement

It’s your responsibility to make sure that the information Companies House has about your company is correct every year. This is called a confirmation statement (it was previously called an annual return). Once again, the 12 month period is worked out by the date of your company incorporation.

For more information, we’ve got a helpful article about what’s included in a confirmation statement.

National Insurance

National Insurance (NI) will need to be paid only if you earn a salary of over £6,032 a year, which is £116 a week (based on 2018/19 figures). The advantage of running a limited company with a service like Crunch is that we can ensure you can pay yourself in the most tax efficient way possible – via a combination of dividends and salary – so that you don’t overstep the NI threshold.

If you do end up above this threshold, NI will usually have to be paid on a monthly basis – assuming you do your payroll monthly.


When you’re the director of a limited company you will need to pay yourself a salary via a PAYE scheme as you are also an employee. PAYE is usually sent off to HMRC monthly.

VAT Return

At the end of every quarter, or in some cases annually, a VAT registered contractor or freelancer must add up all the VAT they’ve charged and then deduct the VAT they’ve been charged themselves during their business transactions. Most freelancers and contractors will be on the flat rate scheme with a limited cost trader Vat rate of 16.5%. Otherwise, the standard rate is 20%.

You must register for VAT if your annual turnover is in excess of £85,000 per annum.

Self Assessment tax return

As a director of a limited company, you need to complete a Self Assessment return and will have to register with HMRC to do so. HMRC usually sends out a Self Assessment tax return in April each year, but if you file online they send a letter called ‘Notice to File’ instead.

Self-Assessment can be filed on paper or online – the deadline for the paper return is 31 October and must be with HMRC by midnight on this date. The deadline for filing online is 31 January.

The following information is included in the Self Assessment for the relevant tax year (6 April through to 5 April the following year):

  • UK savings and investments

  • UK pensions, annuities, and benefits

  • Life insurance gains, and AVC refunds

  • Any other taxable income

And on supplementary pages you’ll need to detail:

  • Pension contributions you make

  • Pension payments you receive

  • Income from letting property or land

  • Any capital gains or losses

Get an accountant!

Well, we would say this, but it doesn’t make it any less true! When running a limited company, it’s always best to seek qualified accountancy advice. They’ll remind you of important tax dates and payments due, show you ways of keeping your accounts in excellent shape, advise you on allowable expenses and how to report them so you’re as tax efficient as possible. Even better, they’ll be able to do a lot of the work for you!

They can help you with things like estimating how much tax and NI you’ll need to pay every six months, or how much VAT you’ll pay each quarter. They’ll also help to ensure you’re not forgetting any payment on account, which catches many people out every year.

Find out more about our accounting for limited companies service.

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