HMRC and Companies House open for joint filing

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John Stokdyk
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The new year opened with the announcement of a combined filing service for annual accounts – the long awaited “single filing point” that inspired Lord Carter five years ago.

Announced in a statement on 6 January, the company accounts joint filing service is intended to give small companies with relatively straightforward financial affairs a “one stop” online facility to submit their company accounts online to both authorities.

The template in HMRC's Corporation Tax online filing software will accept data for both tax and statutory accounts purposes for periods starting on or after 6 April 2008, and forward the information on to Companies House. An abbreviated accounts option is available for users who are entitled to do so.

Due to the departments’ administrative quirks, the mechanism is not quite the seamless environment originally envisaged. For example, where HMRC will demand accounts and tax computations in iXBRL format for years ending after 31 March 2010 from April, the Companies House efiling regime remains voluntary.

HMRC also wants to see the statutory accounts required by company law as part of a company’s tax return rather than the abbreviated version smaller companies are allowed to file at Companies House. And while you may use HMRC’s online tool to complete a joint submission, the deadlines for CT600s and statutory accounts do not always coincide, so the likelihood is that many companies will continue to file at separate times.

“I don’t see that it will make a massive difference,” commented David Forbes of Forbes Computer, the first company to file iXBRL-formatted accounts at Companies House. “If you are using third party software to file, you will already get these benefits. One button will send an iXBRL accounts file to Companies House and another will send your CT600 pack to HMRC.”

Anyone wanting to use the joint filing service will have to register with HMRC Online Services and enroll for Corporation Tax Online. You then use HMRC's Corporation Tax online filing software to submit your accounts to both organisations using a template and third party software can also take advantage of the gateway. For more information, visit the joint filing information page.


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13th Jan 2011 12:46

An apparent improvement

The downloaded pdf will not work in my full version of Acrobat on the Mac, but this time I have been able to correct the Trust settings in Adobe Reader. So I will have another play with the service (having filed all my 2009 CT600s on paper)

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13th Jan 2011 15:19

Which version of Acrobat to use...

The online site states clearly which version of Adobe Acrobat to use for both Windows and Mac ... and for the Mac at least, it is not the latest version, which latest version on my iMac won't work with the template at all, leaving DRAFT signs hanging all over the place, not to mention totally unusable Yes/No buttons, whereas the recommended version of Acrobat works fine.

But I still prefer paper!

Call me old-fashioned and a cheapjack skinflint, but paper is cheap, easy, and much faster than most of these new-fangled online systems provided by HMRC.-- KH

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By ringi
14th Jan 2011 12:34

It worked for me, but could be better

The cooperation tax calculated in accounts is wrong as it assumes large company rate, but it is OK in the CT return. However the CT figure in debtors is typed in by hand and there is an option to add a note that I used to explain why they did not match.

You have to complete the accounts before completing the CT calcs and returns, but you need the CT figure to put in the accounts! You have to type in the same numbers lots of times into different bits of the PDF. Also numbers that could becalculated by the PDF, have to be calculated by hand and typed in. The instructions for the turnover figure says to exclude vat, but not what to do if you are on the flat rate scheme, a lot of users that are submitting their own returns will be small so on the flat rate scheme. You need to type in the details for the bank account for a CT refund, even if a refund is not due. So it works, but the workflow need more thought…. Professional account prep software will pay for itself quickly if you are doing more than a “handful” of returns, but at least now returns can be done on line without forking for account prep software just to do a single return.

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14th Jan 2011 12:53

ringi's experience is disappointing

Aside from the technical difficulties of getting the thing to work, what put me off was all this silly messing about.

SO disappointing

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