What is an Accounting Reference Date (ARD)?
The ARD or Accounting Reference Date is the date in each year to which a company's financial accounts are prepared. This date is usually the last month from your company's incorporation date. For example, a company incorporated on 12 May, the ARD will be 31 May the following year.
It is not the due date for annual accounts
The accounting reference date should not be confused with a company’s annual accounts due date - which is the deadline for when the annual financial accounts should be delivered to Companies House. If you miss this deadline you could receive a penalty of up to £1500, depending on how late your company’s accounts are.
How is the accounting reference date decided?
The accounting reference date automatically falls at the end of the month that the company was incorporated in. For example, if a company was formed on January 5th, its accounting reference date would be January 31st.
Filing annual accounts
A company’s first annual accounts should cover from incorporation up until the accounting reference date, skipping the first occurrence of the date (otherwise accounts would need to be filed less than a month after incorporation). Following accounts should then cover from the accounting reference date up until the next accounting reference date.
Where can I find my ARD?
You can find your ARD (accounting reference date) via your account (login required) > My Companies > Click on your company name.
Changing the accounting reference date
It is possible to change the accounting reference date, although there are strict rules defined by GOV.UK in regards to what you can and cannot do. See here for more information about changing the accounting reference date.
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