Chartered Management Accountants | Milton Keynes
The turnover threshold which currently exempts most companies and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) from a statutory audit is £6.5 million.
In the past, audits were seen as the ‘cost’ companies had to pay for the privilege of limited liability. Audits provide reassurance to shareholders, lenders and creditors that the annual accounts are reliable. Companies House confirms that 93% of the complaints it receives are about the credibility of filed accounts from audit-exempt companies.
However, small companies still have to produce full statutory accounts, so there remains scope for cutting more ‘red tape’.
Not all companies with turnover under £6.5 million come within the audit exemption provisions, because there are criteria other than turnover; since 1 October 2012 small firms have been able to obtain an audit exemption if they meet two of three criteria relating to balance sheet total, turnover and number of employees. Public companies and those carrying on particular types of business, such as insurance broking and financial services are also subject to an audit.
Shareholders can require that an audit is carried out, for example if they are not involved in the day-to-day running of the business and require reassurance that their investment is being properly looked after.
From 1 January 2016 the definition of a small company eligible for exemption will normally be one that meets two or more of the following criteria for the current and previous year:
For periods before 1 January 2016 the following exepmtions apply:
The existence of audit exemption makes it more attractive for sole traders and partnerships to consider setting up a company to gain the protection of limited liability. However, there are tax consequences of such a change and it is important to seek our advice on these matters.
Subsidiaries are exempt from audit provided they fulfil all the following conditions:
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