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Filing requirements for UK companies

On this page the Financial Reporting Faculty outlines the periods allowed for filing and provides links to further guidance including on the filing options for small companies and micro-entities.

COVID-19

Measures introduced to extend filing deadlines at Companies House due to the pandemic have expired and deadlines have returned to normal.

The regulatory requirements relating to the filing of company accounts are set out in sections 441-443 of Companies Act 2006 (CA 2006).  CA 2006 requires that a company files its accounts and reports with the Registrar of Companies within the following time limits:

  • Private companies must file their accounts and reports within nine months of the end of their accounting reference period;
  • Public companies must file their accounts and reports within six months of the end of their accounting reference period.

Special provisions apply when the accounting reference period is the company's first and is longer than 12 months or when an accounting reference period is shortened.

Financial Reporting Faculty members can access further details on the requirements for the periods allowed for filing in the UK Regulation for Company Accounts factsheet.

Extending your accounts filing deadline

When events beyond their control mean companies are unable to meet their filing deadline, companies may apply for an extension. The deadline extension must be applied for before the normal filing deadline. The application must be made online, and the following information will be needed:

  • the company number;
  • information about why more time is needed;
  • documents to support your application (optional).

Automatic filing penalties are imposed when accounts are filed late, and the registrar has very limited discretion not to collect a penalty.

Changing a company’s year end

Accounting periods can be lengthened or shortened to be more or less than 12 months. Changing the company’s year end will change the deadline for filing accounts, unless it is the company’s first financial being lengthened. There are certain restrictions and implications that should be considered carefully before making a change:

  • Companies may only change their year end (their accounting reference date), be it to shorten or lengthen the accounting period, for their current financial year or the one immediately before. Year ends cannot be changed when accounts are overdue.
  • Generally, companies can lengthen their accounting period to a maximum of 18 months and, unless certain criteria apply, the financial year can only be lengthened once every five years.
  • Companies may change their year end by shortening their financial year (by a minimum of one day) as many times as they like.

Companies can apply online to change their year end.

Small companies and micro-entities

Small companies and micro-entities have a number of options available when filing their accounts and reports.

For further information on the filing requirements and options for small companies visit Small company filing options.

For further information on the filing requirements and options for micro-entities visit Micro-entities filing options.

Other entities

Small LLPs also have a number of options available when filing their accounts. For further information on the filing requirements and options for small LLPs visit Filing options for small LLPs.

Filing requirements and deadlines under review

Proposals to improve the quality and value of financial information on the UK companies register have been consulted on by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). An outline of the key proposals together with a summary of ICAEW’s response is available here.

Further resources available to Financial Reporting Faculty members: