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HMRC internal manual

COTAX Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Returns / notices: notices and returns: specified periods and return periods

A notice to deliver specifies a period for which a company must make a return. COTAX refers to this as the specified period.

In most cases the specified period is an AP of the company and the company must make a return for that period.

The legislation relating to the period for which a return is required is contained in Para 5 Schedule 18 FA1998.

The specified period may not coincide with an AP when a company changes its accounting date without notifying the HM Revenue & Customs office and COTAX issues a notice based on the information held on record.

In these circumstances, you need to ascertain the period, or periods, for which a return is required by the notice.

There are four possible situations when this may arise.

Example 1
Example 2
Example 3
Example 4 

Example 1

An AP does not coincide with the specified period but ends during or on the same day as the specified period.

The notice requires a return for any AP that ends during or on the same day as the specified period. A separate return is required for each AP.

Specified period 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2012
   
Accounting Period 1 1 January 2012 to 31 March 2012
Accounting Period 2 1 April 2012 to 31 December 2012

The notice requires a return for each AP.

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Example 2

An AP begins, but does not end, during the specified period and the AP is preceded by a period that does not fall within an AP. This situation is most likely to arise with new companies where the specified period of 12 months begins on the day of incorporation, but the company does not commence trading until, say six months later.

In this situation the notice requires a return for the period beginning on the same day as the specified period, and ending on the day before the AP begins.

Specified Period 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2012
   
Dormant Period 1 January 2012 to 30 June 2012
Accounting Period 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013

The notice requires a return for the period from 1 January 2012 to 30 June 2012, the start of the specified period to the end of the period of dormancy.

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Example 3

There is no AP that begins or ends during the specified period, for example, when a company is dormant throughout.

In this situation the notice requires a return for the whole of the specified period.

Specified period 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2012
   
Dormant 1 October 2011 to 31 March 2013

The notice requires a return for the period 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2012.

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Example 4

The specified period begins and ends in the same AP. This can only happen when the period specified in the notice is for less than 12 months.

In this situation the notice has no effect and no return is required in respect of it.

Specified period 1 January 2012 to 31 August 2012
   
Accounting period 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2012

No return is required by the notice.

See COM130012 for legislation applying to this subject.