Accounting reference date (ARD) is technically your company accounting year end date. In other words, it is the date of which your company accounts must prepare up to. For example, if your accounting reference date is 30 September then you must prepare company account as at 30 September.
Companies House normally set your ARD upon successful incorporation of your company.
You may check your ARD on Companies House website confidently If you do not know your ARD. Companies House website publishes your ARD and your company current filing status. Accordingly, you could see if you have any overdue filings.
Change accounting reference date
Legally, your company may shorten or extend your accounting reference date. For this to happen, you must submit the Companies House form AA01 and specify your preferred company account year end date.
Companies House will then review your application and if they approve, they will inform you and publish your new company account year end date on their website.
Company accounts filing due date
Generally, your company account filing deadline will be nine months from your new ARD. If your new ARD is 31 December 2019, your new accounts filing due date will be 30 September 2020.
In another case, if your company changed your company account year end date within 12 months of incorporation, then your first company account filing due date remained unchanged. Companies House will reset your new ARD filing deadline after your company account is filed.
If your company is a public limited company, your company account filing due date is six months from your new ARD.
There is a late filing penalty for filing your accounts late with Companies House. The penalty starts from £150 to £1500 for a private limited company. There is more heavy penalty for a public limited company, starts from £750 to £7500.
Overdue company accounts
In short, Companies House will not accept your application to change your accounting reference date if your company’s accounts are already overdue.
Besides your company accounts, also remember to submit your confirmation statement with Companies House on time.