Running a limited company is not a walk in the park regulation wise; with ever changing tax laws the life of a limited company business owner has become more complex in recent times.
So keeping on top of your deadlines is ever more important. Failure to meet filing deadlines for Companies House and HMRC will result in penalties and could even mean your company gets closed down with any funds in the bank being passed over to the Crown (and I am not talking about the pub)!
Not paying tax on time will result in interest and perhaps surcharges as well. HMRC are not keen on being treated as a cheap source of finance and take an especially dim view of those who pay themselves out of company funds which should be used to pay the tax bill.
What are the filing deadlines?
The main filing deadlines are:
Company accounts – to be filed at Companies House 9 months after the year end but beware as this is different for the first accounts.
Confirmation Statement – previously known as the Annual Return this has to be filed at Companies House on the anniversary of incorporation
Corporation tax – payable 9 months and one day after the year end
Corporation tax return – to be filed at HMRC 12 months after the year end. This is a bit of a stupid deadline as to pay the tax 9 months after the end of the year the tax calculation, via a tax return, has to be done.
PAYE RTI (Real Time Information) returns – monthly although HMRC do not use the information in real time and you may encounter issues with them “overriding” the data filed
VAT Returns – filed and paid quarterly, 1 month and 7 days after the quarter end
Self assessment tax returns – by 31 January for the previous tax year
Last minute panic
The timescales for filing are generous; so in reality there is no need whatsoever for any last minute panic.
Do not underestimate the amount of effort required to get your accounts together, finalised and filed. It isn’t a five minute job that can be done on a Sunday evening in front of the TV.
Leaving things until the last minute means that there are more likely to be errors and there is no allowance for the unexpected. If you do need help, by way of an accountant to get things filed, you could end up paying higher fees as they may need to use more resources or work overtime to complete the work.
Make sure that you have your deadlines diarised just as you would for important birthdays or anniversaries. You can sign up for reminders from Companies House as well as for VAT returns via the HMRC gateway.
Even if you have an accountant filing tax returns and accounts remains your responsibility. There aren’t many dates to remember; so really there is no excuse for not achieving them!