Your limited company's first accounts and Company Tax Return

Last updated: 16 May 2017

You'll usually need to send more than 1 Company Tax Return after your limited company's first year.

When you set up your limited company, you'll automatically have different reporting dates for:

  • your company's accounts for Companies House
  • Company Tax Returns for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

After the end of your company's first year, your reporting dates will normally align when you send 2 Company Tax Returns to HMRC.

You'll then be able to:

  • put together one set of statutory accounts each year
  • send your company's accounts and Company Tax Returns in one transaction

Go to GOV.UK for more information on:

You can hire a professional to help with your tax.

Why you get different reporting dates

Companies House gives your company an 'accounting reference date' - this is when they expect your company's year end to be.

It's the last calendar day of the month your company was set up (incorporated) - eg if your company was set up on 12 May, its first accounting reference date will be 31 May the following year. So your company's first accounts for Companies House will often be for a period of longer than 12 months.

For your Company Tax Return and Corporation Tax, your company has an 'accounting period' which:

Your company's accounting period for Corporation Tax can't be longer than 12 months.

Your company's first Company Tax Returns

The period covered by your first Company Tax Returns depend on when your company started business activities.

Example: you started business after the company was set up

Action Date
Companies House set up 12 May 2011
Date you started business activities 5 July 2011
Companies House accounting reference date 31 May 2012

Your reporting dates will align when you send 2 tax returns:

  • 1 for the period before the company started business activities (12 May 2011 to July 4 2011)
  • 1 for the period between the company starting business and the company's accounting reference date (5 July 2011 to 31 May 2012)

Example: you started business activities the same day the company was set up

Action Date
Companies House set up and business activity started 12 May 2011
End of your company's first Corporation Tax accounting period 11 May 2012
Companies House accounting reference date 31 May 2012

You must send:

  • tax return 1 for period 12 May 2011 to 11 May 2012
  • tax return 2 for period 12 May 2012 to 31 May 2012

You can use 1 set of statutory accounts for both returns - read the HMRC guidance.

Splitting your profits between tax returns

  1. Take your company's total taxable profits for the period covered by both returns. Find out more about this on GOV.UK

  2. Work out the daily profit.

  3. Multiply the daily profit by the number of days each return covers.

  4. Put the relevant profit figures in each tax return.