Whether you’re a first-time company owner or you’ve been in business for some time, this checklist is designed to give you a detailed overview of your filing and reporting duties as a limited company director. It’s a great resource to bookmark to ensure you’re always up to date with your key responsibilities and don’t get on the wrong side of Companies House or HMRC. The penalties imposed these agencies for non-compliance can be significant and a real pain. Make sure you know what your duties are and stay on top of them.
Maintain company trading status
If your company is buying and selling goods or services, or it is involved in any other form of trading/pre-trading activity, it is ‘active’ for Corporation Tax purposes. In this instance, you must notify HMRC by registering the business for Corporation Tax. This must be done no later than 3 months after the date you begin carrying on any form of trading activity. You can register online.
If your company is not buying and selling any goods or services and it is not involved in any other form of trading/pre-trading activity, it is ‘dormant’ for Corporation Tax purposes. In this instance, you must tell HMRC as soon as possible that your company is inactive. Your business will be listed as dormant until such time you register it for Corporation Tax. You can tell HMRC that your company is inactive by telephone or by post.
Regardless of whether you’re a director, shareholder, or guarantor, you will have to register yourself for Self-Assessment if you receive any income other than a salary. Directors normally receive wages through PAYE, but they usually also receive dividends from shares. Any income revived in addition to a salary must be reported and taxed through Self-Assessment. It is your responsibility to ensure that you:
- Register for Self-Assessment by 5th October
- File a tax return by 31st January each year
- Pay the required Income Tax and National Insurance on these earnings by the 31st January
- Keep a record of all income and expenditure reported in your tax returns
File Confirmation Statement
The annual confirmation statement was introduced in June 2016. It replaced the annual return but it essentially serves the same purpose, which is to verify the information disclosed on the Companies House public register. The confirmation statement is also used to update shareholder information, issued share capital, the nature of trading activities carried out by your business, and information about people with significant control (PSCs) of the company Your confirmation statement should be delivered to Companies House at least once per year. The filing deadline is normally:
- 14 days after the anniversary of company incorporation
- 14 days after the anniversary of the date your previous statement/annual return was completed
Prepare accounts for Companies House
Financial accounts must be prepared for Companies House. In most cases, you will only need to deliver abbreviated accounts (or dormant accounts, if your business is inactive), which are far simpler than the full statutory accounts required for HMRC. The deadline for submitting annual accounts is 9 months after your accounting reference date (ARD). For your first year’s accounts, the deadline will likely be 21 months after the date of company registration.
Prepare accounts and Company Tax Return for HMRC
HMRC requires all active (trading) companies to submit full statutory accounts online each year. The purpose of the accounts is to report all financial activity for the previous year and to work out how much Corporation Tax you need to pay. You will deliver the accounts with your Company Tax Return. The filing deadline is 12 months after the end of your Corporation Tax accounting period.
Pay Corporation Tax
Your company’s Corporation Tax liability for the previous year is reported in your Company Tax Return, but the deadline for paying this tax actually falls before your tax return filing deadline. Corporation Tax payments must reach HMRC 9 months and 1 day after the end of your accounting period.
If your company is registered for VAT, you must submit quarterly VAT returns to HMRC (even if you have no VAT to pay). Each three-month period is known as an ‘accounting period’. The filing deadline for the returns is 1 month and 7 days after the end of each accounting period. The deadline for paying your VAT bill will be shown on each VAT return.
As an employer, which includes employing yourself as a director, you will need to file a Full Payment Submission to HMRC on or before each payday. This form is used to report wages and deductions, including Income Tax, National Insurance Contributions, Student Loan repayments and child maintenance. An Employer Payment Summary must also be delivered to HMRC by the 19th of the following month.
Annual payroll reports must be filed at the end of every tax year:
- Deliver a final payroll report to HMRC on or before your employees’ payday.
- Update employee payroll records from 6th April (first day of the new tax year)
- Update payroll software from 6th April
- Issue P60s to employees by May 31st
- Report employee expenses and benefits by 6th July
Update company registers
Companies are required to maintain statutory registers at their official inspection address, i.e. a registered office or Single Alternative Inspection Location (SAIL address). Your registers can be inspected at any time, so it is important to ensure all necessary updates are carried out as immediately upon any changes taking place.
The registers you should keep and update include:
- Register of directors
- Register of members
- Register of People with Significant Control
- Register of directors’ usual residential addresses
Because your company’s details are disclosed on public record, you must tell Companies House if any of this information changes. This includes:
- Registered office address
- SAIL address
- Appointment or removal of a director or company secretary
- Appointed director’s personal details
- Appointed secretary’s personal details
- Nature of trading activities (SIC codes)
- Accounting reference date
- Location of statutory registers
- Share capital
If you want to change your company name, you must get approval from Companies House before doing so. It will not be valid until you do this. To change the registered name of your company, you should file form NM01. A certificate will be issued when the change is approved, which is normally within a few hours if you completed the form online.