If your business is a limited company (or a limited liability partnership), you must produce statutory annual accounts. Companies also need to provide a range of information to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and Companies House.
If you're self-employed, you will at least need to be able to work out your profit for your annual tax return.
Many businesses, especially companies, choose to use their accountant to handle accounts, tax returns and other filings. But a company’s directors, or a self-employed individual, are still responsible for making sure the right information is filed, on time.
What are annual accounts?
A business that trades as a company must prepare annual accounts. These include a balance sheet and profit and loss statement, along with notes and a directors’ report. The level of detail required depends on the size of the company. The accounts may first need to be audited, though smaller companies (typically with an annual turnover below £10.2 million) are usually exempt from this requirement.
Copies of the full accounts must go to shareholders and to HMRC (as part of your tax return). You must also send accounts to Companies House, though smaller companies can choose to file abridged or even simpler accounts if they meet certain criteria.
You must make sure your bookkeeping system provides you with adequate accounting records to use when you prepare your statutory accounts. You should also make sure you plan ahead, leaving plenty of time to prepare for your annual accounts.
Other statutory filings
When you set up a business, you need to decide what legal form the business will take. The business must be registered with HMRC.
You may also need to register for VAT. If so, you will need to file regular VAT returns, typically every quarter.
If your business has employees, you must register for PAYE. As an employer, you file details every time you pay your employees. You also need to file annual summaries and details of any benefits in kind you provide.
If your business is a company, you need to keep Companies House up to date with a range of information such as details of directors and changes in share capital. You also complete an annual confirmation statement checking that Companies House has accurate information.
You may find it helpful to keep a calendar of key tax and filing dates.