Corporation Tax: use HMRC's free filing services
When you can use HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC's) free filing services to file your Company Tax Return.
HMRC’s free filing services
HMRC currently offers two free services for filing your Company Tax Return. One is a new online service and the other is a downloadable PDF.
Both services are designed for unrepresented companies and charities with straightforward tax affairs. You can use whichever one best suits your circumstances.
But this situation is changing:
- from 2017 the new online service will replace the existing PDF software and it will be the only free filing service provided by HMRC
- if you intend to use the existing PDF software you should aim to file any outstanding returns for accounting periods ending on or before 31 December 2015 before the normal filing date, 31 December 2016
- you will still be able to download Company Tax Returns for accounting periods ending on or before 31 December 2015 until 1 April 2017 and use that software to file or amend downloaded Company Tax Returns until September 2017
The information below explains who can use the downloadable PDF software. Similar conditions are built directly into the online service which also lets you report Income from Property and Ancillary Income in your Company Tax Return within certain limits.
HMRC’s free filing software
You can use HMRC’s free filing software - which is available as a downloadable PDF through HMRC’s Online services to send the following information:
- your Company Tax Return form CT600 (Short) - including companies limited by guarantee
- supplementary pages CT600A, CT600E and CT600J
- statutory company accounts
- Corporation Tax computations
- other attachments (in PDF format) to support your return
After you’ve downloaded HMRC’s online filing software, you’ll need to change the settings on Adobe Reader to allow you to use all the features of the software and send your data safely to HMRC.
Who can’t use the software
You won’t be able to use HMRC’s software if any of the following apply:
- the Corporation Tax accounting period for the return is covered by more than one set of statutory accounts
- the statutory accounts you want to include cover more than 3 Corporation Tax accounting periods
- you need to report a repayment of a loan to a participator (for example, a director’s loan), more than 9 months after the end of the accounting period
- your company must pay its Corporation Tax in instalments
If you can’t use HMRC’s software, you can use commercial software to submit your online return.
HMRC’s accounts template
You can use HMRC’s accounts template to submit your statutory accounts information to HMRC if your company or organisation has less than 12 directors at any one period of time. If you use these templates they will be sent in the right format automatically.
If you don’t use HMRC’s template, you can attach your own accounts.
When you’ve entered your accounts data, the template will produce:
- a directors’ report
- a profit and loss account
- the balance sheet
- a statement of gains and losses
- notes that are necessary to explain the entries in the financial statements, tailored to your company’s circumstances
The detailed profit and loss account (sometimes known as the trading account and expenses) isn’t included in the accounts template, but it’s available in HMRC’s computations template.
Who can’t use the accounts template
You can’t use HMRC’s template if you need to report any of the following:
- called up share capital not paid
- capital instruments
- cash flow statements
- contingent assets
- current asset investments
- defined benefit pension scheme
- exceptional items
- financial instruments
- fixed asset investments
- foreign income and currency transactions
- group accounts (this applies whether the company prepares group accounts or is a member of a group)
- the costs of restructuring
- other reserves
- a revaluation deficit
- prior-year adjustments
- profit or loss on disposal of fixed assets of a material nature
- share-based payments
- share premium
- turnover above £6.5 million
HMRC’s computations template
The HMRC computations template uses your figures to automatically calculate totals and completes most of the CT600 (Short) return form for you.
If you don’t use HMRC’s template, you can attach your own computations.
To use the computations template you must:
- have income from the profits of a single UK trade plus bank or similar interest only - companies with foreign trade can’t use the HMRC online filing software
- be able to prepare a complete and accurate detailed profit and loss account using only those items presented in the computations template
- only need to make adjustments for the following items:
- disallowable entertaining
- legal and professional fees
- net loss/profit on sale of fixed assets
- penalties and fines
- unpaid employees’ remuneration
- interest received
- only be entitled to claim the following reliefs or deductions when calculating total profits chargeable to Corporation Tax:
- trade losses brought forward
- trade losses set-off against profits of the same accounting period
- trade losses carried back from a later accounting period
You can enter the following information on the computations template:
- detailed profit and loss account
- capital allowances and balancing charges for plant and machinery in the main pool, and for up to 6 ‘expensive’ cars (if acquired before 1 April 2009)
- trading losses carried back from a later accounting period
- Annual Investment Allowance
- the Small Pools Allowance
Who can’t use the computations template
You can’t use the computations template if you need to include any of the following:
- income or losses from property
- chargeable gains or losses
- capital allowances, other than the specific plant and machinery mentioned above
- all miscellaneous income, including all HMRC incentives
- non-trading income
- complex loan-relationship entries
- leased cars
- group or consortium relief
Published: 3 January 2007
Updated: 21 December 2016
- Information regarding HMRC’s free filing services has been updated.
- HM Revenue and Customs' free filing services paragraph added to the page.
- First published.