Form 225 Change of Accounting Reference Date

The accounting reference date or ARD can be changed by sending Form 225 to Companies House. When a new company is formed the accounting reference date is set on date of incorporation.

However a company may have varying reasons for changing this date. For example to aid in tax planning, if the company has merged or been takenover and if there are any complex transactions in the accounting reference period.

So, it is possible to file Form 225 to Companies House and change the ARD. However, there are certain rules on changing the ARD as are stated on the Form 225, see here for an example of Form 225.

Example of PDF.

Companies House require that the change be registered before the deadline of the annual accounts. This means that the current ARD has to be met and accounts filed on time, as if they are overdue it is not possible to state afterwards that you wanted to change the date. Overdue fees would still be charged in this case.

Thus the change can only be made to the current or the immediately previous accounting reference period. Shortening the accounting reference period can be done as often as is required and there is no limit to the number of months that you can shorten it by. However, restrictions are put in place for companies wishing to extend the accounting reference period.

There are two main restrictions on extending that Companies House state:

  1. You may not extend a period so that is lasts more than 18 months from the start date of the accounting period.
  2. You may not extend more than one once in 5 years unless:
  • the company is subject to an administration order: or
  • the Secretary of State has directed this: or
  • the company is aligning its accounting reference date with that of a subsidiary or parent undertaking established within the European Economic Area.

(Sourced by Companies House website)

Failing to let Companies House know of a change in ARD can be costly. If the accounts are prepared to the wrong date, Companies House can refuse registration of the accounts and new accounts would have to be prepared to the ARD held on record at Companies House.

The form 225 change of accounting reference date is one that can be filed electronically to Companies House.

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