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HMRC internal manual

COTAX Manual

CT Pay and File: assessments: estimated assessments (PEST)

Generally, Technical Caseworkers did not make an estimated assessment for a CT Pay and File AP because tax shown on a Form CT200 return is collectable under S10(1) ICTA 1988 without the issue of an assessment. Estimated assessments for CT Pay and File APs are now very rarely needed.

Exceptionally, you may want to make an estimated assessment when

  • There is a contentious point that the company wants to take to the Tribunal
  • The Technical Caseworker believes that the company should pay further tax but the company does not agree
  • A protective assessment is needed
  • Delay in providing further particulars, books or other documents justifies seeking a notice under S51 TMA 1970

S 29(1) (a) TMA 1970 contains the authority to issue an estimated assessment.

In the absence of a return, you should not make an estimated assessment until the filing date (Word 42KB) for the return has passed. The only cases where the filing date has not now passed for a CT Pay and File AP are likely to be those set up on COTAX after trading for a number of years and the Notice to Deliver issued very late.

If you issue an estimated assessment to force submission of a return in a case that has recently been set up on COTAX, there may be no established pattern of accounting periods. It is therefore worth making every attempt to establish the true AP dates before proceeding with the issue of an estimated assessment.

Before making an estimated assessment you should use Function VPPD (View Payment and Posting Details) to check the payment position. You can then ensure that

  • Any estimate made is large enough to cover any payment made


  • You will not create an overpayment

You normally use Function PEST (Prepare Estimated Assessment) to issue estimated assessments for CT Pay and File APs. The Function is only available if

  • A return is outstanding for a live AP


  • There is no existing assessment

In Function PEST you can specify

  • Schedule D Case I
  • Case III profits
  • Case I losses brought forward


  • An estimate for unspecified total profits.

Function PEST assumes that you want to charge the assessment at the small profits rate of tax if the profits are below the Lower Limit (previously Lower Relevant Maximum Amount).

You can also use Function PAST (Prepare Full Assessment) to issue an estimated assessment for a CT Pay and File AP where, for example, you want to assess a particular source of income or gain not available in Function PEST. You enter the amount of the income or gain and show it is estimated by entering ‘E’ in the final column on screen COT120F.

You should use Function TAXW (Taxpayer Work Lists) to find any open work list entries that may need attention during or after the issue of an estimated assessment.

You should be aware that complications can arise when you need to change the AP record on COTAX after you have issued an assessment. For more information see COM1000 onwards.

Note: When you have used Functions PEST or PAST to make an assessment you cannot alter it before it is issued, or stop its issue.

For a list of forms relevant to this subject, see COM151021.

For a list of functions to use in particular situations, see COM151011.

For legislation applying to this subject, see COM151051.