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HMRC internal manual

COTAX Manual

Returns / notices: notices and returns: issue of notices and returns

This subject is presented as follows.

COTAX issue of notice to deliver
Return reminders
Details of notices 

COTAX issue of notice to deliver

The notice requiring a company to deliver a company tax return is a form CT603 and is known as the notice to deliver.

When COTAX issues a notice to deliver it specifies a period of not more than 12 months. This is a period ending on the same date as an AP on the COTAX record. Whether the specified period is an AP or not, the notice usually requires a company to deliver one or more returns. COM130070 explains the rules.

The effect of those rules is that a notice specifying a period of 12 months always requires a company to make a return in response to it. In some cases, the notice requires more than one return.

COTAX automatically issues a notice to deliver about one month after the end of an AP unless the address is RLS. For those cases, it will issue the notice when a valid address is put on the record, provided the AP ends less than six years earlier. COTAX also:

  • records the issue of the notice, and the period specified on it (the specified period)
  • creates the next AP on the COTAX record unless it has already been set up manually.

The notice is issued to the company or other person or body acting in capacity (Word 41KB) and shows:

  • the name of the officer of the Board of the HM Revenue & Customs office dealing with the company
  • the HM Revenue & Customs office address
  • the period for which a return or returns are required.

A payslip is attached to the notice, giving the company the details it requires to make payment, which must be made electronically.

A notice to deliver is not issued to:

  • a dormant company
  • a company that has been struck off
  • a company with an address currently shown as RLS on the COTAX record
  • for an AP that has a logged return.

Agents do not receive copies of notices to deliver. Instead, COTAX issues monthly lists to agents showing:

  • details of their clients to whom notices have been issued
  • the periods specified in the notices.

Where HMRC has agreed that a company can be treated as exempt from mandatory electronic filing on religious grounds and the ‘e-filing exception’ signal is set on COTAX, the CT603 does not include a paper return as they are no longer printed. When such a company contacts you, download and print a CT600 form from the HMRC website, imprint it with the office stamp and post it to them.

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Return reminders

COTAX issues a CT208 reminder 42 days before the relevant filing date (Word 42KB) if there has been no payment and the return is outstanding, or a CT205 if a payment has been made but the return remains outstanding. See COM130070 for more information about filing dates.

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Details of notices

Use function DPER (Display Specified Periods) to see the date that specified period notices were issued or re-issued.


  • COM130011 for a list of forms relevant to this subject
  • COM130021 for a list of functions to use in particular situations
  • COM130012 for legislation applying to this subject.