When you can or cannot change your company year-end

There are special rules in place which limit the ability to change a company’s year end date. A company’s year end date is also known as its ‘accounting reference date’ and is usually set by reference to the date the company was incorporated.

Under certain limited circumstances it is possible to make a change to the year end. However, you can only change the date for the current or preceding financial year. Making a change to a year end date will also change the deadline for filing accounts (except for during a new company’s first financial year). For new companies, the first accounting reference date is fixed as the last day in the month in which its first anniversary falls.

There is no limit to the amount of times you can shorten a year end date but you can only extend the period to a maximum of 18 months once in every five years. The financial year can also be extended under limited circumstances such as when the company has been put into administration.

A request for a change to an accounting reference date can be made online using the Companies House online service or by using a postal version of the Change your company accounting reference date (AA01) form. No change can be made to a period for which accounts are overdue.

Planning note

There is no overriding reason for using one date over another but there are a number of important factors to take into account.

The most common year end dates are usually 31 December (the end of the year) or 31 March (to coincide with the end of the tax year). We would be happy to review your year end date to help ascertain if another date would be more beneficial.

Posted in Corporation Tax

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