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Understanding Dormant Company Accounts in the UK

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In the UK, the concept of dormant company accounts is an essential aspect of corporate compliance and financial reporting. This article will provide a detailed overview of what constitutes a dormant company, the reasons for maintaining one, the legal obligations, and the process of filing dormant company accounts with Companies House.

What is a dormant company

A dormant company in the UK is defined as a company that has had no significant accounting transactions during a financial year. According to the Companies Act 2006, a significant accounting transaction is any transaction that the company is required to enter in its accounting records, excluding:

  • Filing fees paid to Companies House.
  • Penalties for late filing of accounts.
  • Money paid for shares when the company was incorporated.

A company may be dormant from the date of its incorporation, or it may become dormant after a period of trading or activity. The status is particularly common for companies set up for future projects, holding assets or intellectual property, or those undergoing restructuring.

Reasons for Maintaining a Dormant Company

There are several strategic reasons a business might maintain a dormant company:

  1. Reserving a Company Name: Companies may remain dormant to secure a specific company name for future use, ensuring that no other business can register under that name.
  2. Future Projects: A dormant company can be an ideal vehicle for future business ventures, providing a ready-made entity when needed.
  3. Holding Assets: Dormant companies can hold assets, trademarks, or intellectual property without engaging in trading activities.
  4. Restructuring: Companies undergoing restructuring might make parts of their business dormant temporarily while reorganizing their operations.

Even though a dormant company does not engage in trading activities, it is still subject to certain legal obligations. These include:

Filing Dormant Company Accounts

Dormant companies must file annual accounts with Companies House. These accounts are simplified compared to those required from active companies. They generally consist of:

  • A balance sheet stating that the company was dormant throughout the financial year.
  • An annual confirmation statement.
Directors’ Responsibilities

Directors of dormant companies are responsible for ensuring that the accounts are filed accurately and on time. Failure to do so can result in penalties and the potential striking off of the company from the Companies House register.

Corporation Tax

While dormant, a company does not have to file a corporation tax return unless HMRC specifically requests one. It’s crucial to inform HMRC that the company is dormant to avoid unnecessary tax filings and communication.

Filing Process for Dormant Company Accounts

Filing dormant company accounts involves several straightforward steps:

  1. Prepare the Accounts: Ensure that the accounts clearly state that the company was dormant during the financial year. The balance sheet should include a declaration from a director confirming this status.
  2. Complete the Confirmation Statement: This is an annual requirement that updates Companies House on the basic details of the company, such as directors, registered office address, and share capital.
  3. File with Companies House: Submit the dormant company accounts and confirmation statement online through the Companies House WebF

Filing service or by post. The online filing system is typically faster and more efficient.

Detailed Steps for Filing Dormant Company Accounts

  1. Access Companies House Online Filing Service: Register or log in to your Companies House account.
  2. Select the Relevant Forms: For dormant company accounts, you’ll need the form AA02 for dormant companies or the simplified version (if eligible).
  3. Fill Out the Balance Sheet: Provide the necessary details, including the name of the company, the balance sheet date, and a declaration of dormancy. Ensure that the balance sheet is signed by a director.
  4. Review and Confirm Details: Double-check all information for accuracy.
  5. Submit the Accounts: Once everything is complete and verified, submit the accounts through the online system or send them by post to Companies House.

Key Points to Remember


  • First Accounts: Must be filed within 21 months of the date of incorporation.
  • Subsequent Accounts: Must be filed within 9 months after the financial year-end.

Penalties for Late Filing

Failing to file dormant company accounts on time can result in significant penalties:

  • Up to 1 month late: £150.
  • 1 to 3 months late: £375.
  • 3 to 6 months late: £750.
  • More than 6 months late: £1,500.

These penalties can double if accounts are filed late for two consecutive years.

Keeping HMRC Informed

It’s important to inform HMRC if your company has become dormant. This can be done by writing to your local Corporation Tax office, providing your company’s name, Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), and the date it became dormant. This helps to avoid unnecessary tax filings and communications.

Reactivating a Dormant Company

If you decide to start trading with a dormant company, you must notify Companies House and HMRC that the company is no longer dormant. This involves:

  1. Updating Accounts: Prepare and file full statutory accounts instead of dormant accounts.
  2. Corporation Tax Registration: Inform HMRC that the company is active and register for corporation tax within three months of starting business activities.
  3. VAT Registration: If your company’s taxable turnover exceeds the VAT threshold, you must register for VAT.


Maintaining a dormant company in the UK is a strategic decision that can offer flexibility for future business activities, protect intellectual property, and reserve a company name. However, it comes with specific legal responsibilities, primarily filing dormant company accounts and annual confirmation statements. Understanding these requirements and adhering to the filing deadlines is crucial to avoid penalties and ensure the smooth operation of your dormant company.

For further guidance, the Companies House website and HMRC provide detailed resources to help you manage your dormant company effectively.

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