Malcolm ZoppiFri Sep 29 2023

How to Change Accounting Reference Date in the UK: Companies House Guide

Your accounting reference date is the date that marks the end of your company’s financial year!

how to change accounting reference date
If you’re a business owner in the United Kingdom, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to change your company’s accounting reference date. This can be a confusing and daunting process, but it’s essential to ensure that your financial records are accurate and up-to-date. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of changing your accounting reference date, including the steps you need to take and the forms you’ll need to fill out. The accounting reference date (ARD) is the date that marks the end of your company’s financial year. It’s also known as your year-end date. The ARD is used by Companies House to determine when your accounts are due for filing and when your corporation tax is due. It’s crucial to get your ARD right as it impacts your company’s financial reporting and tax obligations. Before we dive into the details of how to change your accounting reference date, it’s crucial to understand the significance of this date for your business.

Understanding the Accounting Reference Date and Its Significance

Your accounting reference date is the date that marks the end of your company’s financial year. This date is significant for several reasons. Firstly, it determines when your company’s accounts are due for filing with Companies House. Secondly, it affects the periods for which your corporation tax is due. If you need to shorten or lengthen your company’s financial year, you’ll need to change your accounting reference date. This can be necessary if your company is in administration or if you want to align your company’s financial year with that of other companies in your group. If you’re incorporating a new company, your first accounting reference date will usually be the last day of the month in which your company is incorporated. If you don’t choose a specific date, Companies House will assign an ARD for you.

How to Change Your Accounting Reference Date

Changing your accounting reference date is a relatively straightforward process, but there are specific requirements that you’ll need to meet. Firstly, you’ll need to file an AA01 form with Companies House before your current accounting period ends. You can file this form online via the Companies House service. It’s important to note that you can only change your accounting reference date once in a period of 12 months. If you’ve already overdue or extended your accounting period, you may not be able to change your ARD. You’ll also need to obtain permission from Companies House before you can file the AA01 form. This is usually granted if you meet the necessary requirements. Once you’ve obtained permission, you’ll need to calculate your new accounting period based on your new reference date. This can be a tricky process, so it’s recommended that you seek professional advice to ensure that you get it right.

Key Takeaways

  • Changing your accounting reference date can be a necessary process for many businesses.
  • The accounting reference date marks the end of your company’s financial year and impacts your financial reporting and tax obligations.
  • You can change your accounting reference date by filing an AA01 form with Companies House and obtaining permission.
  • You can only change your accounting reference date once in a period of 12 months.
  • It’s recommended that you seek professional advice when changing your accounting reference date to ensure that you meet all the necessary requirements and get your new accounting period right.

Understanding the Accounting Reference Date and Its Significance

The accounting reference date is a critical date that determines the end of a company’s financial year. The date is usually set by the company’s directors at the time of incorporation and can be changed later. It is used to decide the accounting period for corporation tax purposes, and therefore, it has a significant impact on a company’s accounting. If a company is in administration, the accounting reference date cannot be changed. However, if the company is not in administration, it can be changed for various reasons. For example, a company might want to shorten or lengthen its accounting period to align it with other companies within the group or to coincide with a significant event. For newly incorporated companies, the first accounting reference date is usually set 12 months after the date of incorporation. From this date, the length of the accounting period is usually 12 months. However, this can be changed if the company decides to change its accounting reference date. It is worth noting that a change in the accounting reference date can have implications for company accounting, corporation tax, and financial reporting. Therefore, it is essential to understand the significance of the accounting reference date and the implications associated with changing it.

How to Change Your Accounting Reference Date

Changing your accounting reference date (ARD) in the UK can be a process that requires specific steps and deadlines. It is essential to know that the deadline for filing a request to change your ARD is nine months after the end of your financial year. To change the ARD, companies must seek permission from Companies House before the filing deadline. If the company has already missed the deadline for filing, it must seek the Registrar’s permission by completing Form AA01. In the UK, companies can only shorten their ARD once every five years. However, they can lengthen their ARD as often as they like. If the company is in administration, it cannot shorten its ARD. The process of changing the ARD begins with identifying the end date of your current financial year. Then, you need to decide on the new ARD and how long the new accounting period will be. Companies House provides a useful online tool to help you calculate the new accounting period based on the new reference date. If it is the company’s first accounting reference date, it is possible to extend the accounting period for corporation tax purposes to a maximum of 18 months. To do this, the company must file its first accounts within 12 months of its incorporation and choose an accounting reference period that does not exceed 18 months. It is also essential to ensure that the new ARD falls on the last day of the month, as this is the requirement set by Companies House. The due date for filing accounts will also change, so it is crucial to keep track of the new deadline. Fortunately, you can use the Companies House online services to change your ARD quickly.  However, it is essential to make sure that all the necessary information is accurate and up-to-date. In conclusion, changing your accounting reference date in the UK involves specific requirements and deadlines. It is crucial to seek permission from Companies House and ensure that the new ARD falls on the last day of the month. Taking these steps will help to avoid delays and penalties and ensure that your company’s accounting records are up-to-date.

FAQ

Q: What is an accounting reference date?

A: The accounting reference date is the last day of a company’s financial year. It is used to determine when the company’s accounts and financial statements need to be prepared and filed.

Q: Why would I want to change my accounting reference date?

A: There are various reasons why a company may want to change its accounting reference date. It could be to align the financial year-end with its parent company or to coincide with a more convenient time for reporting purposes.

Q: How can I change my accounting reference date?

A: To change your accounting reference date, you need to complete the AA01 form and submit it to Companies House. You will also need to meet certain criteria and obtain permission from Companies House.

Q: What is the deadline for filing the AA01 form?

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A: The AA01 form should be filed with Companies House within the deadline for filing the company’s annual accounts. This deadline is usually 9 months after the end of the accounting reference period.

Q: Can I change my accounting reference date if it is already overdue?

A: If your accounting reference date is already overdue, you may still be able to change it. However, you will need to seek permission from Companies House and provide a valid reason for the delay.

Q: How do I calculate the new accounting period?

A: The new accounting period is determined by the change in the accounting reference date. If you shorten the accounting reference period, the new period will start on the day after the previous accounting period ended and will end on the new reference date. If you lengthen the accounting reference period, the new period will start on the day after the previous accounting period ended and will end on the day before the new reference date.

Q: Can I change the accounting reference date if my company is already in administration?

A: If your company is in administration, you will need to seek permission from the administrator or the court before changing the accounting reference date. They will need to consider the implications of the change on the administration process.

Q: What happens to my annual accounts if I change the accounting reference date?

A: If you change the accounting reference date, you will need to prepare and file accounts for the new accounting period. The accounts for the previous accounting period will be adjusted to cover the shortened or lengthened period.

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Disclaimer: This document has been prepared for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or financial advice. You should always seek independent professional advice and not rely on the content of this document as every individual circumstance is unique. Additionally, this document is not intended to prejudge the legal, financial or tax position of any person.
Disclaimer: This document has been prepared for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or financial advice. You should always seek independent professional advice and not rely on the content of this document as every individual circumstance is unique. Additionally, this document is not intended to prejudge the legal, financial or tax position of any person.

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Get the specialist support you need

Whether you require specialised knowledge for your business or personal affairs, Gaffney Zoppi can support you.