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A financial year is the 12-month time period that you use to report on your business’s financial performance. You might also hear it referred to as a fiscal year or an Accounting Reference Period.

When does a company’s financial year start and end?

In its first year, your company’s financial year runs from the date on which the company was incorporated, until the end of the same month the following year- what’s known as the Accounting Reference Date or ‘Year End’.

An example financial year in a company’s first year

  • A company is incorporated on 17th March 2024. The financial year begins 17th March 2024, and finishes 31st March 2025
  • This means that the accounting reference date in this instance is 31st March 2025
  • In year two of the business, the financial year begins 1st April 2025, and finishes 31st March 2026

Is my company’s financial year important?

Limited companies are required to submit Company Tax Returns to tell HMRC about the profits they make during their financial year, as well as prepare accounts made up to the end of the financial year (or ‘Year End’), and then filed with Companies House.

The end of your financial year also indicates the deadline for submitting the company’s tax return and accounts, so it’s important you stay on top of it!

The financial year end isn’t all about HMRC, though. Accounts should be balanced and resolved on a regular basis throughout the year, with year-end being the final check that everything across the year balances as it should. Then, your year-end balances are brought forward to start the next financial year – known as ‘opening balances‘.

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Can I change my company’s financial year?

You’re allowed to change your company’s financial year end to a more convenient date – as long as your accounts are not overdue. You can request the change by submitting an AA01 form to Companies House.

Changing your company’s financial year end also affects when your Corporation Tax bill is due to be paid, so it may be worth checking that the new dates don’t create other problems, such as cash flow issues when it’s time to pay your bill!

Learn more about our online accounting services for businesses. Call 020 3355 4047 to chat to the team, and get an instant online quote.

About The Author

Elizabeth Hughes

A content writer specialising in business, finance, software, and beyond. I'm a wordsmith with a penchant for puns and making complex subjects accessible. Learn more about Elizabeth.

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