HMRC announced last year that its free online filing form for corporation tax returns is being withdrawn.
Currently it provides free, downloadable pdf forms which enable a company to file CT600 forms.
This service will be available only until 31 December 2016 to file company tax returns for accounting periods ending on or before 31 December 2015 but not for later accounting periods. In its place there is a new online tool which according to HMRC is currently ‘available and is being enhanced’.
This online tool is developed in conjunction with Companies House and is a ‘new, improved’ company tax return and company accounts filing service called Company Accounts and Tax Online (CATO).
Who does this affect? Most corporation tax returns are prepared and filed by agents using commercial software. However, companies that do not use an agent and do not have access to alternative software will now be forced to use the new HMRC online tool.
As previously highlighted there will be a small number of agents that currently use the downloadable forms on behalf of clients. These agents will also be affected as they will not be able to use CATO in the same way they use the current tool.. Therefore after the above deadlines they will also be forced to make alternative arrangements which will effectively be to use commercial software.