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HMRC internal manual

COTAX Manual

Returns / notices: notices and returns: introduction

For APs ending after 31 March 2010, a company served with a notice to deliver must deliver a company tax return through the Corporation Tax Online Service with appropriate attachments. The company must also pay any CT or CT-related liability electronically for any accounting period.

The only exceptions to submitting returns electronically for accounting periods ending after 31 March 2010 is where HMRC has agreed that the company can be treated as exempt on religious grounds or due to insolvency.

The notice to deliver specifies a time limit for filing the return, normally 12 months after the end of an AP. Failure to comply with the time limit renders the company liable to penalties.

As part of the filing obligation the company must complete a return form CT600.

The company tax return consists of:

  • the completed return form
  • accounts in iXBRL (inline Extensible Business Reporting Language) format, if it is a registered company, or in iXBRL or PDF if it is an unincorporated charity, club or society, or non-resident and not a registered company (without a permanent UK establishment)
  • computations clearly showing how the return figures have been derived from figures in the accounts in iXBRL format.

The whole company tax return, including the return form, the accounts and the tax computations, have to be delivered online using either HMRC’s own filing software or approved third party software that produces a company tax return meeting HMRC specifications.

Non-resident companies either involved in the development of land or property within the UK or needing to declare the disposal of an interest in land or property within the UK must also file a complete tax return including those with a one day or short AP

If the company fails to provide any part of the information required and in the correct format, the return may be considered unsatisfactory and the company may not have met the filing obligation imposed on it.

However, there is validation in the Corporation Tax Online Service that enables HM Revenue & Customs to take the view that if the return includes accounts and computations in iXBRL format where required, we will accept it as a valid company tax return unless and until close scrutiny as part of a general compliance review shows that it is not. Even failure to include accounts and computations in the correct format should not be considered a sole reason to reject a submission.

Any statements and reports needed to satisfy the notice form an integral part of the return, and a self assessment cannot be made until a company has fully met its filing obligation. Failure to include items, or providing them in the wrong format is a technical issue and should be looked at as part of the risk assessment of the return; it is not something that should lead to ‘rejection’ as part of processing the return.

Every company tax return must contain a self assessment of the amount of tax payable for that AP.

A company may amend its return if it wants to change an item or items contained in a return previously made for an AP.

There are rules to ensure that if a company is sent a notice, it can make a return for an AP or APs even if the period specified in the notice is not an AP.

If a company that is outside the charge to CT, because, for example, it is dormant, is served with a notice, it must make a nil return to satisfy the notice.