Key dates for small businesses 2021/2022: Keep your accounts on track


Being your own boss isn’t only liberating – you become an expert at wearing many different hats too! Not only do you make all the hiring decisions, but you’re also sales, marketing, and purchasing all rolled into one. Alongside this, you’ll be managing your finances while trying to keep the taxman happy too.

As specialists in helping those who work for themselves, we understand how complicated it can be for sole traders and small business owners like you to keep up to date with your finances. That’s why we’ve created this handy calendar of key business dates so you can make sure you avoid any HMRC late filing penalties for missing a deadline.

Key dates for Sole Traders and Company Directors

If you’re working as a freelancer or registered as the director of a company, then it’s important to be aware of the following dates:

  • When you start out – you need to register for self-assessment tax
    no later than 5 October in the tax year after you have started trading. Sounds complicated? OK, so here’s an example: you set up a new business that began trading on 3 August 2020. The end of this tax year is 5 April 2021, so the deadline for registering would be six months from this date – 5 October 2021.
  • 31 January – one to definitely remember! This is the deadline for submitting your self-assessment tax return. You must file this by 31 January after the tax year in which you’re paying. For instance, if you take the example above, your self-assessment tax return deadline would be 31 January 2022.
  • 31 January – this is also the deadline for you to pay your tax and first payment on account.
  • If you want HMRC to attempt to take the tax you owe from your salary or your pension, then you need to submit your online tax return by 30 December of the following year (in the example above, this would be 30 December 2021).
  • 1 March – this isn’t a date you want to be affected by! It’s the day from which penalty and interest charges will apply if you’ve not paid the previous year’s self-assessment tax bill balance.
  • 6 April – this brings the start of a new tax year when any new tax rates will come into effect.
  • 30 April – another date to beware of! This marks the day from which daily late filing penalties for the previous year’s self-assessment tax return will come into effect. For this tax year 2020/2021, this refers to the 2018/2019 self-assessment tax return.
  • 31 October – an important deadline if you submit a paper tax return, as it must be filed by 31 October of the following tax year. Taking our above example, this would be 31 October 2021.
  • 31 July – the deadline for your second payment on account. Using the example from earlier, the deadline for this business would be 31 July 2022.

Top Tip: Self-Assessment Tax Returns
It can take up to 10 days to get a Government Gateway log in and password to be able to file your tax return, so make sure you factor this possible delay into your planning. Check out our Tide blog for more tips and info on self-assessment tax returns.

Key dates for Limited Companies

There are different rules and deadlines to follow if your small business is a limited company:

  • Confirmation statement – every limited company must file one of these every 12 months. The deadline for this will either be 12 months from your incorporation date or 12 months from your last confirmation statement.
  • Don’t forget your Company Tax Return is due after the end of your accounting period. In case you’re wondering what your accounting period is, it will usually be the same as your financial year-end in Companies House. However be aware that your financial year will cover 13 months in your first year of business, so you’ll therefore have to submit 2 tax returns. This is because a single tax return can only cover a 12 month period.
  • Corporation Tax has to be paid 9 months and 1 day after the end of your accounting period.
  • Finally, you must file your company’s annual accounts with Companies House within 9 months of your company’s year-end. An exception applies to your first year of trading, where you have 21 months to file your first set of accounts.

Key dates if your business is registered for VAT

If the turnover of your business exceeds £85,000 in any 12 month period, or if you expect that it will be more than this figure, then you must register for VAT.

  • VAT returns need to be completed every 3 months. The dates will be supplied to you by HMRC, but, typically, you will need to pay and file any VAT that you owe to HMRC within 1 month and 7 days of the end of your 3 month period.
  • For instance, if your VAT period ends in January, April, July and October, you will have to file and pay by:
    • 7 March
    • 7 June
    • 7 September
    • 7 December

Top Tip: Get the lowdown on VAT
Our mission is to help small businesses at Tide, so we’ve put together a useful guide on  everything you need to know about VAT.

Key dates if your company runs payroll for your employees’ salaries

If you employ workers on your company payroll, then there are a set of different rules and deadlines to follow:

  • Before your employees’ payday, you must send your Full Payment Summary (FPS) to HMRC via your payroll software.
  • You must give payslips to your employees either before on or on payday itself.
  • 4 April – a crucial date from a payroll perspective as this is the deadline by which you must have registered payroll benefits and expenses online for the current tax year.
  • 19th of each month – this is the deadline for PAYE (pay as you earn) and National Insurance remittances if you opt to send them by post each month.
  • 22nd of each month – you must pay what you owe in both PAYE and National Insurance by this date of the following month if you submit your remittances electronically.
  • 31 May P60 deadline and the date by which you must have given each of your employees a P60, containing details of their payrolled benefits for the past tax year.

Coming soon – Tide Payroll!
You’ll soon be able to pay employees through the Tide web app, as Tide Payroll is launching soon. In the meantime, here’s our guide to paying employees while staying compliant with HMRC.

If you’d like more information on these key HMRC and Companies House filing dates, then check out the Tide Masterclass video below. Lee Morrison, from Sapphire Accounting provides a host of tips and small business support on how to make your finance admin as easy as possible.

And finally, the Tide mobile and web app help streamline your finance admin too. Smart features, such as applying automatic categories to your transactions and uploading receipts direct to the app will make managing your accounts a breeze. When you combine these with creating customized invoices, Direct Debits, and accounting software integration, you’ll be sure to keep the taxman on side too!

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Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich published on Pexels

Caroline Wire

Small Business Copywriter

Tide Team

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