Corporation Tax: how to make a claim or election

Find out how and when you can make a claim or election, and what information you need to include.


A claim is when you tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that you’re entitled to a relief that reduces either your company or organisation’s taxable profit or the amount of Corporation Tax you have to pay.

An election allows you to choose a particular way of having your company or organisation’s affairs treated for Corporation Tax purposes.

For example, you may in some circumstances be able to elect to have a business asset treated as a short-life asset for capital allowances purposes. This would allow your company or organisation to ‘write-off’ the cost of the asset over its lifetime.

Read more about the conditions for making a claim or election.

What to include in a claim

You need to state the amount of the claim in figures, and you must include enough information in the claim to fully describe what you’re claiming for.

You have to provide specific information for certain reliefs, so it’s essential to check the detailed rules before you claim.

What to include in an election

You must clearly state what your company or organisation is choosing to do, and which accounting periods you’re doing it for.

There are restrictions on how often you can change some elections, and others apply indefinitely, so it’s essential to check the detailed rules in the relevant HMRC manual.

When to make your claim or election

A claim or election should be made in (or accompany) your Company Tax Return, because the claim or election may affect your Corporation Tax calculations and how much tax you have to pay.

If you don’t make the claim in your return, and you’re still in time to make an amendment to your return, then you can either:

Time limits

Most claims and elections have a specific time limit and after a certain time you may not be able to claim at all, so you shouldn’t delay your claim or you may lose out. This is often the same as the time limit for delivering or amending your Company Tax Return.

If no specific time limit applies, then a time limit of 4 years from the end of the Corporation Tax accounting period to which the claim relates applies.

The nature of some reliefs - such as carrying back a loss to a previous accounting period - means that you can’t claim any relief until you’ve delivered your return to HMRC for the period from which the relief arises.

For many reliefs, including losses, capital allowances and group relief, HMRC can sometimes allow a late claim after the normal time limit has ended.

Claims or elections after the deadline for amending your return

If you’re making a claim or election after the deadline for amending your return has passed, you should write to Corporation Tax Services.

If the claim is also being made after the normal time limit for making it, you should make that clear in your letter and explain why you think that HMRC should accept your late claim.

Revising a claim or election

If you find you’ve made a mistake in a claim or election, you can correct it by amending your Company Tax Return - as long as you’re within the time limit for amending your return.

If you’re too late to amend your return, or too late to revise your claim or election within its own time limit, you should tell HMRC by writing to Corporation Tax Services.

HMRC may make an assessment to collect any tax lost as a result of the mistake in the claim or election.

Compliance checks and claims and elections

HMRC can ask for more information about your company or organisation’s claim or election by making a compliance check. If the claim or election is included in your return, it may be checked as part of a check of that return.

If the claim or election isn’t made in a return or in an amendment to a return, HMRC may still check it but they use a slightly different process.

Published 13 February 2006