Accounting Reference Date (ARD) – UK Companies

  1. New Companies have the obligation to file their first Annual Accounts within 21 months from the incorportation date.
  1. The Companies House assigns each company a unique Accounting Reference Date (ARD) according to the day of their Incorporation. The ARD is the date the accounts are made up to, and the first ARD falls on the last day of the month following the first anniversary of the Incorporation.
  1. Example:
  2. Date of IncorporationThe First Accounting Reference Date (ARD)
    15 July 202031 July 2021
    5 October 200831 October 2009

    1. The subsequent accounting reference dates will be on the same date every year after that.
    1. The period reported in the accounts is called Accounting Reference Period.
    1. For newly incorporated companies, it starts on the Incorporation date and runs up to Accounting Reference Date. Because the First Accounting Reference Periodwill fall on the last day of the month, following the first anniversary of Incorporation the first accounting period will be, for most companies, a few days over a year.
    1. After the first accounting period, subsequent accounts will always be filed covering an exact year period, starting on the day the first accounting period ended.  It will continue to the next accounting reference date (unless the company changes it). The pattern will repeat each year.
    1. A New Company must notify HMRC that it has started trading even if it does not make any profit.
    1. Failure to do this may result in penalties.
    1. A deadline for doing so is three months of the beginning of the accounting period.
    1. Unlike individual tax liability, HMRC does not calculate Corporation Tax liability