Filing Company Tax Returns on Time

Filing Company Tax Returns on GOV.UK
Filing your company tax returns on time is straightforward when you know what to expect, and this guide is here to help you navigate the process with ease. It covers everything from understanding the initial steps to submitting your Corporation Tax return, to dealing with penalties if you miss deadlines. You’ll also find useful information on how to appeal penalties and make necessary changes to your submitted returns. Whether you’re new to the process or need a refresher, you’ll find all the essential details you need to keep your business compliant and avoid costly fines. Have you ever found yourself puzzled by the steps involved in filing company tax returns on time? You’re definitely not alone. Filing your company’s tax return can seem like a daunting task, especially with the intricacies and deadlines involved. But don’t worry; this guide aims to simplify the process and help you understand all you need to know about filing your company tax returns on time.


Filing company tax returns is a structured process that businesses need to undertake for compliance with UK tax laws. It’s essential because it ensures that your company stays in good legal standing and avoids substantial penalties.

When it comes to filing, you must submit your company’s accounts and tax return online to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). This needs to be done after the end of your company’s financial year, following specific rules and within set deadlines.

Why Filing is Crucial

Filing your company tax return is crucial for several reasons. First and foremost, it’s a legal requirement. Failure to submit your returns on time can lead to penalties, interest on unpaid tax, and even enforcement actions. Additionally, filing on time helps you maintain an accurate financial record, which is invaluable for future financial planning and business development.

Tools and Information You’ll Need

Before diving into the details, gather all necessary information and tools to facilitate a smooth filing process. Preparing beforehand can save you a lot of stress and last-minute rush.

Required Information

You’ll need specific information to file your company tax returns, including:

  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR): This is a 10-digit number unique to your company, necessary for all dealings with HMRC.
  • Company’s Financial Records: These include all your annual accounts, profit and loss accounts, and other relevant documents.
  • Corporation Tax Reference Number
  • Details of Income and Expenditure: A detailed account of your company’s transactions throughout the financial year.
  • VAT Records: If your business is VAT registered, these records will also be essential.

Having all this information handy will make the filing process more manageable.

Online Tools

GOV.UK provides various online tools to assist you. These include:

  • HMRC Online Services: Register and access to submit your company’s accounts and tax return.
  • Guidance and Help Sections: Comprehensive guides on how to fill in each part of your return.
  • Calculators: Tools to calculate how much Corporation Tax your company owes.

By familiarizing yourself with these tools, you can navigate the process more smoothly.

Filing Company Tax Returns on GOV.UK

Steps to Filing Company Tax Returns

Filing your company’s tax return involves several steps. Let’s break it down to make it easier:

1. Prepare Your Accounts

You’ll need to prepare statutory accounts from the company’s financial records. These accounts include profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and notes to the accounts.

2. Complete Your Company Tax Return (CT600)

After preparing the accounts, the next step is to complete the CT600 form (Company Tax Return). This form includes details of your company’s income, less any tax allowances and expenses.

3. Submit Your Return Online

You must submit your Company Tax Return online. To do so, you’ll need to register for HMRC’s online services if you haven’t already.

4. Pay Corporation Tax

Corporation Tax is usually due within nine months and one day after the end of your accounting period. Make sure you pay it on time to avoid penalties.

To give you an overview:

Step Action
1 Prepare statutory accounts
2 Complete CT600 form
3 Submit return online
4 Pay Corporation Tax

Penalties for Late Filing

Understanding the penalties for late filing can motivate timely submission. Here’s a breakdown of the potential penalties:

Time After Deadline Penalty Amount
1 Day Late £100
3 Months Late Additional £100
6 Months Late HMRC estimates Corporation Tax and adds a 10% penalty on unpaid tax
12 Months Late Another 10% of any unpaid tax

Consequence of Repeated Late Filing

If your tax return is late three times in a row, the £100 penalties increase to £500 each. So, it’s essential to get into the habit of filing on time.

What If Your Tax Return is More Than 6 Months Late?

If your tax return is six months late, HMRC will write to you with a ‘tax determination.’ This is an estimation of the tax they think you owe. Unfortunately, you cannot appeal against a tax determination; you must pay the estimated Corporation Tax and file your overdue tax return.

Filing Company Tax Returns on GOV.UK


If you have a reasonable excuse for late filing, you can appeal against the penalty online. Once you complete the online form, print it and send it to the address provided on the form. Remember to file your Corporation Tax return before appealing the penalty.

Valid Reasons for Appeal

A reasonable excuse could include severe illness, a natural disaster, or unforeseen circumstances like the sudden death of a close family member. But bear in mind, ordinary professional or personal commitments are unlikely to be considered valid reasons.

What You’ll Need for an Appeal

To appeal, you’ll need:

  • The UTR
  • The date on the penalty notice
  • The penalty amount
  • The end date for the accounting period that is in question
  • An explanation as to why the return was not filed on time

Making Changes

You may find that you need to make changes to a return you’ve already filed. This could be due to discovering errors or simply needing to update some figures.

How to Make Changes

You can make changes to your company tax return within 12 months of the filing deadline. Here’s how:

  • Log into HMRC Online Services: Navigate to the return you need to amend.
  • Select the Return: Choose the tax return period you want to change.
  • Make and Submit Changes: Complete the necessary amendments and submit the updated return.

Penalties for Incorrect Returns

It’s crucial to be accurate, as submitting an incorrect return can result in penalties. Penalties depend on whether the mistake is due to carelessness, a deliberate underestimation, or deliberate and concealed actions.

How to get help

Filing your company tax returns doesn’t have to be a solo endeavour. If you need help, there are several options available:

Professional Accountants

A professional accountant can provide specialized help tailored to your business needs. They can assist with the complete process, ensuring accuracy and compliance.

HMRC Support

HMRC offers extensive support through their website, phone lines, and local offices. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have specific questions or need clarification.


Filing company tax returns on time is a straightforward process when broken down into manageable steps. Understanding the requirements, gathering all necessary information, and utilizing the resources available online can make the task far less daunting. Moreover, by staying organized and filing on time, you can avoid penalties, maintain your company’s legal standing, and have a clearer understanding of your company’s financial health.

Remember, help is available if you find yourself stuck at any point. Whether through professional accountants or HMRC support, don’t hesitate to seek assistance to ensure a smooth and compliant filing process. Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge, you’re ready to tackle your company tax returns with confidence!

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