UK companies are required to file several documents each year. We often hear from customers that confuse the Annual Return with the company’s tax return. So what is the difference between the two documents?

Annual Return

The ‘Annual Return’ is a specific term relating to filing your company information with Companies House. The Annual Return was replaced by the confirmation statement at the end of June 2016. It is not a tax document and has no connection to your company accounts or HM Revenue & Customs.

Every year UK registered companies must submit the Confirmation Statement (Form CS01) to Companies House. The documents are available to file online or in a paper version. This document is submitted on or shortly after the anniversary of your company being registered. However, if you file the form at any other time during the year the filing date will be changed.

The purpose of the Confirmation statement is to provide Companies House, the registrar of companies, with confirmation the details relating to your company are accurate. It is also used to update the shareholder’s information and the SIC code for your company.

Tax Return

The corporation tax return is a formal tax declaration that must be filed with HM Revenue & Customs every year. It is possible UK limited companies will be  required to file a tax return with HMRC even if it has not traded.

This tax return must be completed every year and submitted to HMRC. You normally have 9 months and one day from the company’s year-end to calculate and pay your corporation tax. The tax return is filed online using the HMRC website.

The tax return should include form CT600, a set of your company’s full statutory accounts (not the abbreviated version) and any supplementary pages or additional tax computations depending on the sections completed within form CT600.

It is generally recommended that you seek assistance from an accountant to file your tax return. Preparing statutory accounts and completing form CT600 is not something that should be completed by a novice to avoid errors.

It is the company director’s responsibility to file both the Companies House Annual Return and the HMRC corporation tax return. Action may be taken against your company and penalties issued for late filing.

Dormant companies

If your company has been trading or receiving an income then HMRC may deem your company is not dormant. If your company has no trading activity and you have filed dormant accounts at Companies House do not assume you are not required to file a tax return.

Directors of dormant companies should write to HMRC to inform them that the company is not trading. This can be done when the company is formed or when a corporation tax return is due. When the company starts trading HMRC must be informed within the first 3 months.