Company Filing & Deadlines: Self Assessment, VAT, Accounts, Tax & more

Our ultimate guide to all the deadlines and penalties you need to be aware of as the director of a Limited Company.

By Chris Andreou
Last updated
June 11, 2024
iPhone calendar to keep track of tax returns deadlines

Self Assessment Tax Return Deadlines

What is a Self Assessment Tax Return

A Self Assessment Tax Return is required by HMRC to provide an overview of all your income and ensure you’ve paid the correct income tax.

Whilst HMRC can track your income as a PAYE employee, they want to ensure they’ve got a clear picture of all your self-employed income sources for the year. This means you’ll need to make them aware of additional income if you meet certain criteria (see below).

This could also lead to tax refunds too.

The tax year for individuals runs from 6th April to 5th April

Example 1:

The tax year for 2021/2022 was 6th April 2021 to 5th April 2022. All income you’ve personally received between those dates needs to be declared.

Example 2:

We are currently in the 2024/2025 tax year which started on the 6th April 2024, and will finish on 5th April 2025. Your tax return won’t be due until 2025 (more on this below).

Who needs to File a Self Assessment Tax Return?

Actually, a lot of people. 

More than 10.2 million people filed a 2020 to 2021 self assessment tax return by 31st January 2022 deadline.

You’ll need to file a Self Assessment if any of the conditions below apply:

  • If you’re self employed, or earned more than £1,000 working for yourself
  • You’re a director of a limited company or partner in a partnership
  • You received property rental income over £2,500
  • You’re a trustee of a registered pension scheme
  • You’re are a trustee or representative of someone who has died
  • You earned £100,000 or more as an employee or pensioner
  • You earned £10,000 or more from investment or savings income
  • You earned £2,500 or more from untaxed income like tips or commissions
  • You owe capital gains tax from the sale of an assets at a profit
  • You claimed child benefits when your or your partner earn over £50,000
  • You are an expat living abroad and receiving income from the UK
  • You receive income from abroad
  • You receive state pension payments that exceed your personal allowance and it’s your only source of income

Unsure about whether you need a Self Assessment tax return? You can check if it's required using HMRC's Self Assessment Tax Return tool.

Deadline to file a Self Assessment Tax Return

31st January 2025 for the 2024/2025 tax year.

HMRC provides a long window of time between your personal tax year end (5th April) to the deadline for filing your tax return, which falls on 31st January of the following year.

Example 1:

2021/2022 tax year [April 6th 2021 to April 5th 2022] → file by 31st January 2023

Example 2:

2024/2025 tax year [April 6th 2024 to April 6th 2025] → file by 31st January 2026

Filing can be done online, or through engaging an accountant like GoForma Accounting. We're able to complete your filing for you with competitive pricing - even if you have complex filing requirements.

When to pay Tax Return

You need to pay your Self Assessment Tax by 31st January.

Example 1:

2021/2022 tax year [April 6th 2021 to April 5th 2022] → pay by 31st January 2023

Example 2:

2023/2024 tax year [April 6th 2023 to April 6th 2024] → pay by 31st January 2025

Self Assessment Payments on Account

A “Payments on Account” is an advance payment towards your tax bill for the following year.

This is calculated from how much you earned in the previous year and then split into 2 payments - one in January and one in July. 

In the following January, if you overpaid you’ll get a refund and if you underpaid then you’ll be asked to make a balancing payment to cover this.

Payments on Account Example:

For simplicity, rather than writing the years as April 6th 2018 to April 5th 2019 or 2018/19, I have summarised this as simply 2019, 2020 or 2021:

2019 = April 6th 2018 to April 5th 2019

2020 = April 6th 2019 to April 5th 2020

2021 = April 6th 2020 to April 5th 2021

  • In 2019 you owed a total of £5,000 in income tax.
  • In January 2020 (9 months after your personal tax year) you filed this with HMRC.
  • HMRC then estimated that you’d owe £5,000 again in your 2020 tax year.
  • So, in January 2020 HMRC asks you to pay half of your estimated 2020 tax now (£2,500) and the other half in July 2020 - these are your “Payments on Account” of your 2020 Tax Year.
  • In July 2020 you make your second “Payment on Account” for your 2020 Tax year (£2,500).
  • In January 2021 you file your Self Assessment Tax Return with HMRC to report your exact earnings for 2020.

There are three things that could happen next:

Payments on Account Example 1: You owe the exact amount estimated

Outcome: You’ve already paid so nothing extra is due. HMRC keeps the same estimate for your future tax.

  • Say you received the same amount of income in 2020 as you did in 2019, so you owe the same amount of tax that was estimated - £5,000.
  • Therefore, the HMRC estimate in January 2020 was correct.
  • You’ve already paid £5,000 towards your 2020 tax bill in January 2020 and July 2020.
  • So, you don’t need to pay any extra for your 2020 income tax.
  • HMRC would then estimate that you’ll owe £5,000 again in 2021.
  • They’ll then ask for two £2,500 “payments on account” for 2021 due in January 2021 and July 2021.

Your tax bill in January 2021 is:

[Balancing Payment for 2020] + [First Payment on Account for 2021]

[£0] + [£2,500] = £2,500

Payments on Account Example 2: You earned more than estimated

Outcome: You’ve underpaid your tax, so you owe HMRC money. HMRC adjusts your future tax estimate up.

  • Your taxable income increased in 2020 compared to 2019. 
  • You owe £6,000 in tax rather than the £5,000 estimated.
  • You’ve already paid £5,000 towards your tax bill in your “payments on account” in January 2020 and July 2020.
  • So, you’ll need to pay the difference (a balancing payment) of £1,000 towards your tax bill by January 31st 2021.
  • HMRC would then increase their estimates that you’ll owe £6,000 again in income tax in 2021.
  • They’ll ask for two £3,000 payments on account for 2021 - one in January 2021 and one in July 2021.

Your tax bill in January 2021 is:

[Balancing Payment for 2020] + [First Payment on Account for 2021]

[£1,000] + [£3,000] = £4,000

Payments on Account Example 3: You earned less than estimated

Outcome: You’ve overpaid your tax, so HMRC owe you a refund. HMRC lowers your future tax estimate.

  • Your taxable income decreased in 2020 compared to 2019.
  • You owe £4,000 in tax rather than the £5,000 estimated.
  • You’ve already paid £5,000 towards your tax bill in January 2020 and July 2020.
  • As you have overpaid, HMRC owes you a refund of £1,000.
  • HMRC would then decrease their estimates that you’ll owe £4,000 in income tax in 2021.
  • They’ll ask for two payments on account for £2,000 in January 2021 and July 2021.

Your tax bill in January 2021 is:

[Balancing Payment for 2020] + [First Payment on Account for 2021]

[-£1,000] + [£2,000] = £1,000

Self Assessment Late Payment/ Filing Penalties

With a generous window of time to file and pay your Self Assessment tax return, there’s actually a lot of people who still end up leaving it too late and getting fined.

Need help with your Self Assessment? At Forma, we offer a one-off charge of £99 + VAT or it's included in our all-inclusive packages starting at £59/mo+ VAT.

VAT Filing & Returns Deadlines

VAT Threshold 2024

Earnings of £90,000 a year.

VAT Rate

The VAT rate is 20%

When to register for VAT

You don’t need to register for VAT, unless you meet the following conditions:

  • Your taxable turnover exceeds £90,000 within a 12-month period.
  • You expect your taxable turnover to exceed £90,000 in the next 30-day period.
  • Your business had a taxable turnover exceeding £90,000 over the last 12 months.

The registration process if fairly simple, but moving forward, you'll need to complete quarterly filing - so it's best not to register until you’re sure that you can meet all the filing requirements.

When to File and Pay VAT Returns

VAT Returns should be filed and paid 1 month and 7 days after your VAT quarter end date.

In most instances, your VAT quarter should coincide with your company incorporation date. For example, if you incorporated your company in the middle of June, then you can register for VAT to cover this June period.

There are 3 groups that you may fall into for your VAT filings:

VAT filing deadlines

VAT Late Filing & Payment Penalties

The first time you are late in filing and paying your VAT then you’ll have a “probation period” of 12 months. This is also known as a “surcharge period”.

This surcharge period is reset once you’ve made it 12 months without a late filing or payment. If you continue to file and pay VAT late, you’ll start to incur high penalties.

Penalties are based on the size of your turnover and the number of late payments.

VAT filing deadlines

Company Accounts Filing & Deadlines

One of the biggest responsibilities you’ll have as a Company Director is ensuring that your company accounts are filed on time, and are correct.

Your business is likely to be classified as a micro-entity which means you can share basic “abridged accounts”. You can read our guide about company year end accounts on our website.

Your accounts will be made publicly available on Companies House, and missing your filing deadline can lead to some significant penalties.

Who needs to file company accounts

Every limited company is required to file company accounts, even if the company has limited business activity.

Even dormant companies are required to file accounts. These are simpler than normal accounts, but it’s still required to provide an update on your business trading.

When is your company's financial year?

Whilst your personal tax year runs from 6th April to 5th April, your limited company financial year depends when you registered your company.

It’s unlikely that you set up a limited company at the very start or end of a month, so your first company year is typically rounded up.

Ex. If you registered your company on June 15th 2021, your first company year would run from June 15th 2021 until June 30th 2022. Your next company financial year would then run from July 1st 2022 until June 30th 2023.

When are Company Accounts Due

You are required to file your first annual accounts 21 months after you start your business.

Your next accounts will be due 9 months after your company year end.

Company accounts due months after start/ year end table

You registered your business on 15 June 2020. Your company financial year would run 15 June 2020 to 30 June 2021. Your first accounts would be due 21 months later by 30 March 2022.

Your next financial year would be 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022. Your second accounts would be due 9 months later by 30 March 2023.

So, if you started your company during these months, this is when your accounts would be due:

First Company Accounts due by date started table

For those that have already had their first year, here's when your company accounts are due based on the month you started:

First Company Accounts due by date of year end tableCompany Account penalty table

Company (or Coporation) Tax Filing & Deadlines

How much is the Corporation Tax Rate in the UK?


This is due on the gross profits of your business.

Who needs to pay Corporation Tax?

Corporation Tax is due for any registered and trading limited company in the UK.

You'll need to register for Corporation Tax within three months of trading commencing. 

How to register for corporation tax

You’ll need your Company UTR (Unique Taxpayer Reference) number. Note, this is not the same as your personal UTR number, as your company is considered a separate entity.

You’ll receive your Company UTR number within 14 days of your company being registered with Companies House. This is sent via post by HMRC.

To register, you’ll need your 10-digit Company Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), your company registration number, the date you started doing business and when your annual accounts will be made up to. You’ll also need your company Government Gateway ID (you'll need to create one if you don't already have it).

Corporate Tax Payment Deadline:

Your Corporation Tax is due nine months and one day following the end of your accounting period.

Company Account penalty table

If the end of your accounting period (company year) falls on 31st March 2022, your Corporation Tax must be paid up by 1st January 2023. In this example, your accounts would be due by 31st December 2022.

Late Filing Penalties for Corporation Tax
If you miss the deadline to pay by one day then you instantly incur a £100 fine.

After six months you’ll be fined 10% of the outstanding amount which can be significant.

These penalties can accumulate to a significant amount, so you need to be careful about meeting your deadlines.

If you think you're unable to meet your deadlines and need additional time to pay, you should contact HMRC as soon as possible to set up a Time to Pay Arrangement. They can be really helpful, and help structure a repayment program.

Confirmation Statement Filing & Deadlines

With all the glitz and glamour that comes from being a limited company director, you do have a fiduciary responsibility to keep your public company details up to date.

You’ll need to ensure that you let Companies House know when there are changes to your registered office address, home address or your circumstances.

What is a Confirmation Statement?

A Confirmation Statement is essentially confirmation from you, as a company director, that your details and the company details are accurate and up to date.

Who needs to file a Confirmation Statement

A confirmation statement is needed for every limited company in the UK.

It must be filed by a Director, accountant or someone acting on behalf of the company.

When to file your Confirmation Statement

You must file a confirmation statement at least once every 12 months.

The due date is called the ‘confirmation date’, which falls on the anniversary of your company formation or the ‘made up’ date of your last confirmation statement. This is the date on which you confirm that all information held on the public record is correct.

Each year, your confirmation date will be 12 months after your previous confirmation date. You have 14 days after this date to confirm the statement to Companies House.

If your company details are all the same and you don’t have any changes to report, all you need to do is ‘check and confirm’ the information held on public record and submit the statement.

What are the penalties for late Confirmation Statements

There are no fines for delivering it late, but it could result in criminal prosecution or your company can be struck off.

Need help with your accounting?

There's a lot that you need to manage as a limited company director. Our team at Forma can help ensure that you never miss a deadline, you know what's coming up and you know how much you need to pay.

With packages starting at £59/mo, we provide a range of services to give you everything you need when starting out.

If you'd like to book a free consultation or just find out more then you can book a call or send through an enquiry below:

Read more of our Small Business Accounting guides:

Business accountant available for free consultation

Speak to an accountant

Get a free 20 minute consultation about starting your business

Business accounting from £35