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HMRC internal manual

COTAX Manual

Returns / notices: notices and returns: delivery of a return

A notice to deliver requires a company to deliver a return, referred to in Sch18 FA1998 as a ‘company tax return’, of such information, accounts, statements and reports that are:

  • relevant to the tax liability of the company or
  • otherwise relevant to the application of the Corporation Tax Acts to the company as may reasonably be required by the notice.

The legislation does not stipulate the exact items required, but does say that different information, accounts, statements and reports may be required from different descriptions of company.

In practice, for APs ending after 31 March 2010 the notice and relevant legislation and directions, require a company to deliver a company tax return through the Corporation Tax Online Service comprising:

  • a CT return form CT600
  • any relevant supplementary pages
  • computations in iXBRL (inline Extensible Business Reporting Language) format linking the entries in the return to the figures in the accounts
  • the full statutory accounts in iXBRL format, including the reports of the directors and the auditors as required by the Companies Act 2006.

In addition, for insurance companies and friendly societies only, as appropriate:

  • a copy of the return made under Part II of the Insurance Companies Act 1982 or
  • a copy of the abstract of the actuary’s report under S46(3) or 47(2) Friendly Societies Act 1992 and all forms completed under the Friendly Societies (Insurance Business) Regulations 1994.

The company tax return must also include a declaration by the person making the return that it is, to the best of their knowledge, correct and complete. That declaration does not necessarily have to include a signature.

The Companies Act 2006 gives a great deal of information on the accounts and documents required from a company for the purposes of the Registrar of Companies. However, HM Revenue & Customs takes the view that if the return includes accounts and computations in iXBRL format if appropriate, 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.

When returns are submitted through the Corporation Tax Online Service, there is validation to ensure that most company tax returns are complete. Where manual intervention is needed, the case is put onto a COTAX work list. It should be extremely rare for the manual review of these cases to lead to the rejection of the return as unsatisfactory.

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.

In general terms, 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.


  • COM130065 for more information on companies that can be treated as exempt on religious grounds
  • COM130240 for more information on rejecting returns
  • COM130011 for a list of forms relevant to this subject
  • COM130012 for legislation applying to this subject.