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The ins and outs of filing your annual business tax return

In the UK, most businesses have to file a tax return at least once per year, and it is very important to do so on time.

If you don’t, it can result in a large fine, prosecution and the unwelcome attention of the authorities. It is a criminal offence to deliver your tax return more than 28 days after your firm’s legal return date, which means that the directors of the company could end up with a criminal record and not being able to fulfil their posts in the future.

Know your return date

The first step is to keep your return date in mind. If you are a limited company, the date relevant to you will depend on the date your firm was incorporated.

Maintain good records

Keeping your accounts up to date is the best way of ensuring that you can file your accounts on time. Try not to let the situation slip behind; it is always more efficient to do your accounting as you go. This is the best way to ensure that no important documents are lost or missed.

Filing online

If you want to, you can file your tax return online. Doing it this way is just as simple as filling out the manual forms, if not easier.

You should aim to do it a few days in advance, at the least. That way, if half way through the process you discover you are missing some information, you have the time to pull it together and try again. HMRC should send you an email to confirm that your return has been successfully received. If you do not receive this, follow through and find out why.

The offline approach

Alternatively, you could file your tax return offline. This is the traditional method, but you need to be careful to use the right form.

If you are a new company, you need to use form CT41G, while voluntary associations and clubs need to use form CT41G (Clubs). All other concerns need to use the CT600 form.

For important documents such as these, recorded delivery is often recommended.

Posted by Peter
January 5, 2015

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