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How to lock your accounts

This article explains how to lock your accounts in FreeAgent.

Locking your accounts in FreeAgent prevents you from editing any of the data that makes up your accounts, up to a particular date. This date is set when the lock is applied.

Your accounts will either lock automatically as the result of certain events, or you can lock your accounts manually.

To lock your accounts manually, you will need full (level 8) access to your FreeAgent account. If your accountant has level 8 access to your FreeAgent account, or they are a FreeAgent Partner, they may lock your accounts on your behalf.

Once a lock has been applied, you will have the option to remove the lock from your accounts.

When your accounts are locked automatically

Your accounts will lock automatically as a result of the following events:

  • If you’re a sole trader and you have filed your Self Assessment tax return or marked it as filed, your accounts will be automatically locked up to the end of your business’s basis period.
  • If you run a limited company and you or your accountant have approved and signed your end of year accounts, your accounts will be automatically locked up to the end of your accounting year.

To view the date up to which your accounts have been automatically locked, select ‘Settings’ from the drop-down menu at the top-right of the screen, then select ‘Account Locking’ from the ‘Accounting, Tax & VAT’ section.

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The date up to which the accounts are locked will be shown under ‘Active account locks’.

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Locking your accounts manually

To lock your accounts manually, select ‘Settings’ from the drop-down menu at the top-right of the screen, then select ‘Account Locking’ from the ‘Accounting, Tax & VAT’ section.

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Choosing a lock date

If you haven’t filed your Self Assessment tax return or end of year accounts through FreeAgent, or you’re in a partnership, you won’t see the ‘Active account locks’ section until you lock your accounts manually.

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In the ‘Add a manual account lock’ section, you will see a range of valid lock dates below the ‘Lock Accounts until’ box.

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FreeAgent generates this date range using the following principles:

  • If you’re not VAT registered, the most recent date up to which FreeAgent will allow you to lock your accounts is seven days prior to the current date.
  • If you are VAT registered, the most recent date up to which FreeAgent will allow you to lock your accounts is the end of the period covered by your last filed VAT return, and you will not be able to apply the lock until at least seven days after this date. For example, if your last filed VAT return covered the period ending 31st October, you would only be able to lock your account up to that date, and you would have to wait until 7th November or later to apply the lock.

Please note that if you have filed a Self Assessment tax return through FreeAgent and an automatic lock has been applied, the earliest valid lock date will be the start of the current tax year. For example, if you have filed a Self Assessment tax return for the 2020/21 tax year, the earliest valid lock date will be 6th April 2021 and the latest valid lock date will be based on the criteria above.

Similarly, if you have filed end of year accounts through FreeAgent and an automatic lock has been applied, the earliest valid lock date will be the beginning of the current accounting year. For example, if your accounting year ended on 31st December 2020 and you have filed end of year accounts, the earliest valid lock date will be 1st January 2021 and the latest valid lock date will be based on the criteria above.

Applying the manual lock

Once you have entered an appropriate date, select ‘Save Changes’. This will lock your accounts up to and including that date. The date will be displayed in your list of active account locks.

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Changing a lock date

To change your account lock date, select 'Settings' from the drop-down menu at the top-right of the screen, then select ‘Account Locking’ from the ‘Accounting, Tax & VAT’ section.

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Next, update the date displayed in the ‘Add a manual account lock’ area and select ‘Save Changes’. The new date will be displayed in your list of active account locks.

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