What is a Company’s Incorporation Date - Uniwide Formations
Company Incorporation Date

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As a limited company owner in the UK, you may want to choose your company’s incorporation date and accounting reference date. It may be that you want a date that is easy to remember and meaningful for you, or you want an immediate incorporation date. Alternatively, you may have been advised by your accountant to have your financial year end at a particular time of year (e.g. for retail companies, this may be after the expected peak sale period). While it is not possible to change an incorporation date, by timing the submission of your incorporation application, you can make sure it matches your preferred date. 

If you would like to form a limited company and choose the date of incorporation or accounting reference date, it is important to understand the rules and how this can be achieved. In this article, we will explain what date of incorporation means and how you can choose your limited company’s incorporation and accounting reference date.

What is meant by the date of incorporation?

The date of incorporation is simply the date on which your limited company was placed on the public register of companies by Companies House in England and Wales after they approved your application for incorporation. 

Company incorporation applications are not always processed by Companies House on the same day (they are typically processed within 3 – 6 hours), hence the date of incorporation will not necessarily be the same as the date of application submission. 

Is it possible to choose a company incorporation date?

Yes, it is possible to choose your company’s incorporation date using our guaranteed same-day formation service. If you have a preference for a company incorporation date that falls on a weekday (i.e. Monday to Friday), you can use this service to ensure that it matches the date you choose. The cost for this service is £29.

To be assured that your company incorporation date is the same as the date you submit your application, you must submit your application before the cut-off time of 1.30 pm UK time and pass our identity verification checks (please see below for more details). You will also need to ensure that the details you provide with your application are complete and accurate. Any incorrect information or problems with the details you provide may delay the processing of your application by Companies House. 

What steps do I need to follow to choose my company incorporation date?

There are a small number of key steps that you will need to complete when using our guaranteed same-day company formation service to ensure the correct incorporation date is used, as follows:

  1. Before registering your new company, you will need to check that your company name has not already been used and that the internet domain name is available. We provide a free name checker service on our website to make this as easy as possible.
  2. Decide on the type of company you wish to create (e.g. private company limited by shares, limited liability partnerships, or company limited by guarantee).
  3. Choose which company formation package you would like to use (i.e. basic, proxy, privacy, advanced, and premium). Each package offers different benefits and ranges in fees between £14.99 and £179 + VAT.
  4. Click “buy now” on your chosen package.
  5. Add any optional extras you require – one of these is the Guaranteed Same Day Company Formation service at the bottom of the page, for an additional fee of £29.
  6. Complete the remainder of your company incorporation and pay the required fee.

If necessary, you can request a “pre-submission review” when applying for your company incorporation. We will then review your application to correct any errors before it is processed by Companies House. This will avoid a situation whereby Companies House delay or refuse your application due to inaccuracies or missing information. 

What are the identity (ID) requirements to register a company?

To ensure that your incorporation date meets your preference, in addition to submitting your application before 1.30 pm, you will also need to pass our mandatory identification checks. To prevent fraud and misuse of the company register, all company formation specialists are legally required to carry out strict Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and “Know Your Customer” (KYC) checks before submitting details to Companies House. 

The method for checking your ID will depend on whether you are a UK resident or not. If you are a UK resident, we can carry out a digital check of your ID and address. We will simply use the details you provided with your incorporation application to do this. 

If you are a non-UK resident and, therefore, not eligible to use our digital ID check or do not pass our digital ID check, we will send you an email with details of the information and documents we require to check your identity. A valid form of ID and an address will need to be provided by the person registering the company, any directors, and any PSCs (persons with significant control). 

ID checks can be carried out using a mobile phone app called “CREDAS” or by having your documents reviewed by a professional (e.g. A Solicitor or Notary Public, civil servant, minister of religion, doctor, chartered accountant, teacher or lecturer). Alternatively, you can use the Post Office’s identity document certification service.

How long does it normally take to form a company?

Most incorporation applications take between 3 and 6 hours. Companies House only processes company incorporation applications between Monday and Friday (not including bank holidays). As such, it is not possible to have your company incorporated at the weekend. If you submit your incorporation application at the weekend, it will be held in a queue and normally handled on the next working day.

Can I change the date of my company’s incorporation?

Unfortunately, once your company has been incorporated, the date of incorporation cannot be changed. This is why it is important to ensure that you submit your incorporation application on your preferred day using a guaranteed same-day service.

Can I change my company’s accounting reference date (ARD)?

Unlike the date of incorporation, it is perfectly possible to change your limited company’s accounting reference date (ARD). The accounting reference date is automatically set as the anniversary of the last day of the month of incorporation. You may want to change the accounting reference date to bring the accounting period in line with that of another company or because your accountant has recommended a change. To change your accounting reference date, you can apply online through the Companies House WebFiling service or complete form AA01. Depending on your needs, you can either shorten or lengthen your accounting reference period. There are some restrictions to be aware of. You cannot change a period for which the accounts are overdue, and you cannot extend a period beyond 18 months unless your company is in administration.

Where can I find my company’s date of incorporation?

You can find your company’s date of incorporation in a number of places. If you incorporated your company through Uniwide Formations, you can log in to your online account to see the correct date of incorporation. Another method of finding your company’s incorporation date is by using the online Companies House “search the register” service. Simply type in the name of your company, click enter, and the date of incorporation will be shown.

Do I need to start trading on the date of incorporation?

There is no legal requirement stipulating that you must start trading from your date of incorporation, or any other date for that matter. If you are not ready to start trading once your company has been incorporated, you can leave it in a dormant state until you are ready. Companies House view a company as dormant if it has no significant transactions within the financial year. According to their rules, significant transactions do not include any filing fees paid to Companies House, any penalties for late filing of accounts, and money paid for shares when the company was incorporated.

It is important to inform HMRC if your company is dormant. Remember, if your company is dormant, you will then need to file a confirmation statement and dormant company accounts each year. You do not need to inform Companies House when you commence trading. This is because your next set of non-dormant accounts filed will automatically tell them that you are now actively trading. 

Final words

Whether you want to choose your own incorporation date for sentimental or practical (e.g. financial reasons), you can do so by using our guaranteed same-day incorporation service. Remember, it is not possible to change your date of incorporation once your company has been incorporated. It is possible, however, to change your company’s accounting reference date. You can quickly and easily lengthen or shorten your accounting period simply by completing an online form and submitting your request to Companies House using the WebFiling service.

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