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CT600 and Adobe incompatibilities - again

CT600 and Adobe incompatibilities - again

I downloaded the CT600 form yesterday, expecting a tedious afternoon, but not expecting to have to fight the system all afternoon, evening, and half today. I need to use the accounts section for Companies House and HMRC and then the CT600 form.

Started with the latest Adobe Reader X. Adjusted the settings exactly as specified on the HMRC website - execpt that the ‘Import Contact Settings’ window did not even display the 6th checkbox (‘privileged system operations …’). Gave up on this computer, tried a different computer, same version of Adobe and a clean CT600 PDF file. Successfully changed the Adobe settings, happily typed in all the accounts data. came to view/print the accounts and got the error message:

This document enabled extended features in Adobe Reader. The use of the extended features has expired. Please ask the document author for the latest version of the document.

So I searched Accountingweb any answers and found that there's a possible incompatibility with Adobe X. So uninstalled Adobe X, installed Adobe 9.4 and started again. Successfully changed settings, typed in all accounts data again. Back to View/Print. This time a strange error message:

This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Please install a program or, if one is already installed, create an association in the Default Programs control panel.

I am totally at a loss. I don't even know what sort of program it thinks it wants. In previous years Adobe Reader would do everything, with few if any problems. I've used computers for over 40 years and quite familiar with the technology, but this one has me completely stumped. Is it just that HMRC have screwed up again, or have I missed something significant. Surely if I'm using their online submission system for everything I don't need iXBRL software as well, do I? 


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03rd Jan 2012 14:21

I had this too

with a set of accounts submitted late December using Acrobat reader V10 - it appeared when I tried to access the CT600 file yesterday (after submission to HMRC) to forward a copy to the clients. The same 'extended feature has expired' page came up.  The adobe on line forums are of the opinion that version 10 is causing problems. Fortunately my clients could access the accounts at their end as they have the full acrobat software and then emailed me back with a full set.

I have no idea what the answer is though!

Thanks (1)
By simes
03rd Jan 2012 14:39

I have the same problem, today, just like you

Hi silicondale,

Same here.  I downloaded the CT600 form this morning, worked on it using Adobe Reader X, and got the same error as you when trying to view/print it.  Spent another hour fruitlessly trying to fix it, googled for others' experiences, then found your post here.  Based on what you've found (thankyou) I'll not bother trying Adobe Reader 9.4.  The google results I found suggest that the error is in the format of the CT600 original; I suspect someone at HMRC has updated their source form (maybe in some very minor way, perhaps re-saved it using old software) yesterday and it needs to be fixed at their end.  The timing is too much of a coincidence otherwise.  I will send them fedback and ask you to do the same please.

Regards, Simon.

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03rd Jan 2012 19:06

Phoned HMRC this afternoon

They said it's a known bug. Suggested fix - set your computer clock back to  2011; use Adobe X.

I tried that. No joy. First it didn't accept the accounts date since 31 Dec 2011 was then in the future. So I set the computer's date to 31st Dec, and finished the accounts. Tried submitting to Companies House and it was rejected with a whole lot of garbage error 9999 messages with what looks like references to iXBRL (dozens of URLs on the W3C website). No indication of just what Companies House objected to, or what I could do to fix it. Nothing that I could see wrong with the accounts. Also, unable to continue on to the CT600 part of the PDF file withoput successful submission. I give up - or at least I would if they didn't insist on online submission. 2 days wasted and still no further forward.

Thanks (1)
03rd Jan 2012 20:32

I had the same problem today, although all was OK when I filed for a different company on 30/12.


I rang the HMRC technical help desk and have emailed screen shots of the error messages to them.

Luckily I am not in a rush to get this company filed.


If/when they get back to me I'll report back



Thanks (1)
By immsm
05th Jan 2012 10:47

Same problem yesterday afternoon with view accounts

I could not get past the view accounts screen - same error as above.

Have query logged with HMRC - they said they had not encountered the query before but would get back to me.

I guess from above it should now be known.

Wonder how long they will take to fix it.





Thanks (0)
05th Jan 2012 11:21

Life's too Short

As this seems more than an isolated incident, I would suggest you take it up with your professional body's representative on the local WT group.

Despite my software (VT) producing accounts and tax computation in iXBRL, this was still rejected when attached to the CT600 using HMRC's product.  Rejection was ostensibly because the Company Registration No. was incorrect - (it wasn't).  Took the online help desk,(should be renamed - the NONEhelp desk) over 2 weeks to respond initially but still didn't resolve the issue.  Even submitted accounts and screen shots to software supplier, who could find no error).

What was infuriating was they wouldn't deal with my request to submit a paper return, as the problem was obviously theirs.

Eventually, because life's too short, and after further frustrations with the NONhelp desk, ended up starting again by producing the accounts again from scratch which fortunately worked, but what a waste of my time for which I can't charge the client and HMRC won't recompense.


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to Aplange
05th Jan 2012 14:06

CRN failures

BIGWAL wrote:

Rejection was ostensibly because the Company Registration No. was incorrect - (it wasn't). 


It appears that unless the CRN is exactly what the IR have on their system, then it is *incorrect*.  I've had to drop leading zeros and remove "SC" to get this to work with the few charities I file this way.

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05th Jan 2012 11:59

Same problem on 5th January 2012

Hi, I also had same problem, with same error message This document enabled extended features in Adobe Reader. The use of the extended features has expired. Please ask the document author for the latest version of the document.

However, I wasn't altering anything, just ticking the "return authorised" box before submitting to HMRC, and I then receivd via email a message to say return successfully filed ... but I can't print off or access the submitted return due to this error message. Anyway, it's HMRC's problem, not mine. If they can't fix it, I don't have any more problems! Time for another slug of that good old single malt, praise the lord, and get back to my rosary beads!

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05th Jan 2012 14:58

many thanks for all comments ...

... but I really can't be bothered to waste more time with HMRC just now. I'm just appalled at how bad their software is to be plagued by so many and various problems after it has presumably been deemed fit to release for general use. Don't they do any testing before releasing it?

I have a business to run. In previous years I have had no real difficulties in doing my own company accounts (they're really very simple) and submitting online. As I'm not a member of any professional accounting body and my own professional body (one of the engineering institutions) is not really interested in this, I'm just going to wait for the problem to be resolved. I have a few months of grace as the company year end is 31 Dec. I usually try to finalise the accounts and pay the tax as early as I can in the new year - but if it's delayed this year, it's their loss, not mine. The VAT is done, so it's just the CT and the Companies House filing. I'll put a note in my diary to check again in April if I haven't heard anything.

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05th Jan 2012 15:17

HMRC software CT600

......same as above but I have had issues since last October, everytime they "update" anything on their CT software, I have difficulties accessing it!!

I agree with the "None Help Dek" coment HMRC seem to fob me off with we can't help must be a problem at your end, Really??? Every time there is an update???

I only have 4 Ltd Clients so simply not worth me buying CT software........but the amount of time I waste every year I'm starting to wonder?

I have even tried downloading the Welsh version, (I do just about understand enough Cymraeg!) but that has the same issues if not more.....gggrrr.......

I'm sure there must be some legislation out there to allow paper submission if HMRC can't get their software/act together ?



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05th Jan 2012 15:38

INSTALL an OLD VERSION of adobe-hmrc dont tell you that:


Thanks (1)
05th Jan 2012 16:44

david5541 - thanks for the suggestion but it overlooks two fatal flaws.

(1) there's no guarantee that ANY version of Adobe would actually be compatible.

(2) each uninstall/reinstall - followed by testing the CT600 - take a finite but significant amount of time, to determine whether or not there is a problem, especially when the problem doesn't appear until you have entered all of the accounts data. Also, to be sure that you are starting with a 'clean' CT600, the form has to be downloaded afresh each time as well (well I suppose I could keep a 'clean' master copy and then work on copies of that one, so no need to download it each time).

Life's too short. What appalls me is the horror stories from accountants who record that there have been similar problems for much of the last year. Is the accounting profession really so limp-wristed that it couldn't take action such as a CT strike - simply refuse to file any more CT returns until HMRC produced a form that works properly?

As someone who has written highly complex scientific software for a living, the logic in calculating corporation tax doesn't seem too tricky, especially as HMRC have restricted use of their online form to the simpler cases. And it's really a basic procedure to do thorough testing of software before you release it, especially if you know it has to be used by thousands of 'customers' (as they insist on calling us).

I know how much tax I have to pay, and I have my accounts on paper. Since their form doesn't work - and I have documentary evidence of that - then if I simply send them the accounts, including my tax computation, and a cheque, are they really going to reject them? And if they do, what will happen? I shall have paid the right amount of tax. If they don't want to look at my accounts in the only form that I can supply, surely that is their choice, but not one that I can be penalised for. I doubt it will come to that, but if there's no working CT600 form by the deadline, that is exactly what will happen.   



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By Gilly
05th Jan 2012 16:50

Me too

Same message about extended whatnots, downloaded the form today.

It seems HMRC know about it now, and have this on their service issues page

"Problems viewing and printing Adobe return files

We are aware that customers are unable to view or print copies of their HMRC CT600 and attachments (Version 2.3.0) and are presented with the following error message:

‘This document enabled extended features in Adobe Reader. The document has been changed since it was created and use of extended features is no longer available. Please contact the author for the original version of this document’

For those customers who have already submitted their return (Version 2.3.0) and now wish to make a copy please click on the “Print” button at the top of each page to print every page as you proceed through the form.

For those customers who have saved but not submitted their return (Version 2.3.0) and don’t need to do so urgently please keep checking this page and we will inform you when a new version of the form is available to download.

For those customers who have saved but not submitted their return but need to do so urgently you will be able to use the current form (Version 2.3.0) for online filing but you will not be able to view or print the whole return in the correct format using the “View and Print” link in the product. If you wish to make a copy please click on the “Print” button at the top of each page to print every page as you proceed through the form”.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused. """



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By immsm
06th Jan 2012 11:25

Update from yesterday - reply from HMRC

Thank you for contacting the Online Services Helpdesk.

A technical issue has arisen since 1 January with the HMRC online filing product (Version 2.3.0 only) resulting in the full 'view and print' functionality being disabled. Consequently you will not be able to print any details from your form CT600 or accounts & computations in the correct format

We are investigating the issue urgently and expect to resolve it shortly.

If you have downloaded the software since September 2011 but have not yet filed and don't need to do so urgently, we suggest that if possible you wait a few days, visit our Service Issues page and download a new form when the problem has been corrected. If you do download the software again in its current state, you will be able to use it for online filing but you will not be able to view or print the whole return in the correct format using the 'View and Print' link in the product.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused

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06th Jan 2012 17:55

It's worse than this!

Acrobat compatibility problems have plagued Companies House submissions over the years - this year (and last) seem to have been OK so maybe they've got the hang of the thing, but as I found out just before Christmas, HMRC and Companies House don't share such expertise as they have.

A year or so ago on Accounting Web I naively said that I expected that for a small company like mine, I'd simply have to put up with re-keying a few bits of information into HMRC software to enable me to file. How wrong I was!

If you have a balance sheet with any reserves other than P&L and revaluation reserve, you can't use HMRC software at all. So, any companies with a share premium account (like mine) or a capital redemption reserve, or any other reserves cannot submit their accounts to HMRC using its Adobe forms.

No doubt some AW members will say it serves me right for not using a practitioner to file for me - according to Accountancy this month, the ICAEW Tax Faculty says that all practitioners are finding iXBRL filing is working really well - but I had rather thought that HMRC would have some kind of duty to enable me to file my company's accounts with them and not dictate that I have to use third party software.

I find it ironic that Companies House has no problem with additional reserves in balance sheets. Need another reserve Sir? No problem, just click on the drop-down menu. 

So one arm of the civil service (Companies House) understands the problem and has done something about it, whilst another (HMRC) either doesn't understand the problem, and/or is not prepared to talk to Companies House to see what their experience has been over the last few years.

In some ways I'm fortunate in that I still have another 6 months before my filing deadline to try to solve the problem, but if any practitioners out there are hoping to file clients' accounts using HMRC's adobe forms, may I suggest you try it soon. You may find that Adobe compatibility problems are the least of your worries.

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to runningmate
01st Apr 2013 20:18

CT 600 Same Problem different year

CT600 still locks and data disappears when trying to submit online, (either HMRC or Companies House). Sent copy of file to Companies House who were able to see the data but could not explain authorisation failure. When they returned the file to me the data had again disappeared. Looks like Paper Copy to CH, PDF's to HMRC again.

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By Arm266
24th May 2013 17:46

Use of alternative commercial programmes

As I found numerous problems with rounding last year, plus the HMRC online return expected you to insert the tax due before it was calculated in the second half of the return.  Fortunately I did not authorise them to forward it to Companies House, when first suggested, but waited until I had completed the CT600 section, then went back and corrected the tax due.

This year, I decided to use my usual Tax Return commercial software to do both returns but they advise me that the Companies House submission can only be done if I take their new accounts production software.  I can't even do the CT600 without taking their iXBRL software package.

I already use Quickbooks for my accounts production and have no wish to move, but they don't offer the Companies House submission.

Can anyone recommend a combined CT600/Companies House software package that produces everything in one go, as HMRC's is supposed to?  As I only have to report my own company, I will need one at a reasonable price!

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02nd Jul 2014 16:09

unreasonable requirements of hmrc

It takes several times longer messing about with badly designed HMRC software than actually preparing the accounts. 

They choose Adobe Reader as their platform. I suggest the clue is in the second word. It is stretched beyond its deign intentions for the role of submitting a CT600.

Having loaded the certificates into 9.5.4, I go through all the inputs only to find the form will not submit.

I have asked HMRC whether they have tested Acrobat for this purpose on a Linux box and I have not received a straight answer.

I use Google sheets to prepare my accounts. I am happy to enter a summary into their software but not to learn/buy the arcane iXBRL based requirement.

For personal tax returns HMRC use open source browser technology. Why can't they save time and effort for themselves and us by using the same technology for CT?


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