Companies with a 31 December year end

For companies with taxable profits of up to £1.5 million the payment of any Corporation Tax is due 9 months and 1 day after the end of your accounting period. The accounting period is usually the financial year of your business but can be different especially in the first year of business.

This deadline means that companies with the popular year end date of 31 December 2019 should have paid any liabilities for that year at the beginning on or before 1 October 2020. Interest is charged from the day after the tax should have been paid until payment has been made. 

HMRC have not extended the date for Corporation Tax Payments and payment remains due 9 months and 1 day after your accounting year end. However, you can apply to HMRC to pay on an instalment basis or defer payment if your finances have been badly affected by coronavirus. If you have missed your payment date, we would recommend contacting HMRC as soon as possible. We can assist you with this process if required. 

There are special rules for companies with taxable profits over £1.5m. These companies are defined as ‘large’ for Corporation Tax purposes and are required to pay tax due in instalments. 

Corporation Tax and related payments must be made electronically. You cannot pay Corporation Tax by post.

Carry Corporation Tax losses back

Corporation Tax relief may be available where your company or organisation makes a trading loss. The loss may be used to claim relief from Corporation Tax by offsetting the loss against other gains or profits of the business in the same accounting period.

Where the amount of a trading loss exceeds the profits of the same accounting period, the company may claim to carry back the excess against the profits of preceding accounting periods. The preceding accounting periods are those falling wholly or partly within the preceding period.

Losses may only be carried back against profits of a preceding accounting period if the company was carrying on the trade (in which the loss was incurred) at some time in that accounting period.

Any claim for trading losses forms part of the Company Tax Return. The trading profit or loss for Corporation Tax purposes is worked out by making the usual tax adjustments to the figure of profit or loss shown in the company’s or organisation’s financial accounts.

If a company ceases to carry on a trade, the preceding period is three years preceding the accounting period in which the loss is incurred. Accounting periods must be taken in order, most recent first.

Taxation of grants

A wide variety of grants or subsidies are available to businesses and can be received in addition to the ordinary business income. It is important to identify these and to establish whether they are capital or revenue in nature so that they are dealt with correctly for tax purposes.

Amounts received towards revenue expenditure, such as staff costs, are normally trading receipts and should be included as income or netted off against the relevant expense. Funding which meets capital expenditure is normally treated as a capital receipt. Grants that may be capital in nature include those paid to acquire capital assets, machinery or to facilitate the cessation of a trade or part of a trade.

Some grants may not be for a specific purpose. These are termed undifferentiated receipts. An undifferentiated receipt should be regarded as revenue; however, there is an exception for specific grants paid by Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Corporation Tax – carrying back losses

Corporation Tax relief may be available where a company or organisation makes a trading loss. The loss may be used to claim relief from Corporation Tax by offsetting the loss against other gains or profits of the business in the same or accounting period.

Where the amount of a trading loss exceeds the profits of the same accounting period, the company may claim to carry back the excess against the profits of preceding accounting periods. The preceding accounting periods are those falling wholly or partly within the preceding period.

Losses may only be carried back against profits of a preceding accounting period if the company was carrying on the trade (in which the loss was incurred) at some time in that accounting period.

Any claim for trading losses forms part of the Company Tax Return. The trading profit or loss for Corporation Tax purposes is calculated by making the usual tax adjustments to the figure of profit or loss shown in the company’s or organisation’s financial accounts.

If a company ceases to carry on a trade, the preceding period is three years preceding the accounting period in which the loss is incurred. Accounting periods must be taken in order, most recent first.

Spring Budget 2020 – Corporation Tax

The Corporation Tax main rate will remain at 19% from 1 April 2020. The main rate had been expected to reduce to 17%. However, this reduction was always in doubt after the Conservative election manifesto promised to reverse this announcement.

It has also been confirmed that the Corporation Tax main rate will remain at 19% for the following financial year beginning 1 April 2021. The Chancellor in his Budget speech was keen to stress that even at 19% the UK’s Corporation Tax rate remains the lowest in the G7 and G20.

Some businesses within the quarterly instalment payment regime may have made insufficient payments as a result of calculating their Corporation Tax liability by reference to the 17% rate. HMRC has said that they will work to provide guidance as soon as possible and to advise the correct rate.

Spring Budget 2020 – Research and Development Expenditure Credit

It has been confirmed by the Chancellor that the Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) is to be increased from 12% to 13% on 1 April 2020. The RDEC allows companies to claim an enhanced Corporation Tax deduction or payable credit on qualifying R&D costs. The RDEC replaced the large company scheme that was withdrawn in April 2016. This will help large companies to claim more support for their R&D activities.

There is a separate scheme for smaller companies known as the Small or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Scheme. The SME scheme offers more generous reliefs. SMEs can currently claim R&D tax credits of 230% for expenditure.

However, SMEs can elect to claim relief under the RDEC scheme if they are unable to claim relief under the SME scheme because of a grant or subsidy, or because they are carrying out subcontracted R&D work. A company is usually defined as an SME if staff headcount is less than 500 and either turnover is less than €100m, or balance sheet total is less than €86m.

It should be noted that only certain qualifying costs are available for R&D tax reliefs. The government has also said it will consult on whether qualifying R&D tax credit costs should include investments in data and cloud computing.

Spring Budget 2020 – Non-UK resident property companies

Following an announcement at Autumn Statement 2016, and subsequent consultations, the government moved forward with plans to charge Corporation Tax to non-UK resident companies with property income. Currently, these companies are chargeable to Income Tax and not UK Corporation Tax.

This measure will come into effect from 6 April 2020 when any non-UK resident companies that carries on a UK property business or has any other UK property income will become liable to Corporation Tax rather than Income Tax as at present.

This change is part of the government’s aim to ensure that all companies are subject to the same tax treatment and to limit some of the reliefs claimed by foreign companies on UK rental income. Whilst the Corporation Tax rate is lower, the benefit of the falling tax rate may not offset the tighter restrictions faced by non-resident companies claiming tax relief on rental income.

This measure is expected to affect a significant number of non-resident company landlords. The restriction may also affect entities that seek to reduce their tax bill on UK property through offshore ownership.

Spring Budget 2020 – Company cars and vans

Where employees are provided with fuel for their own private use by their employers, the car fuel benefit charge is applied. The fuel benefit charge is determined by reference to the CO2 rating of the car, applied to a fixed amount. HMRC has confirmed that the car fuel benefit charge, fixed amount, will increase in 2020-21 to £24,500 (from £24,100).

The fuel benefit charge is not applicable when the employee pays for all their private fuel use.

The standard benefit charge for private use of a company van will increase to £3,490 (from £3,430). A company van is defined as ‘a van made available to an employee by reason of their employment’. There is an additional fuel benefit charge for a van with significant private use. The limit will increase in 2020-21 to £666 (from £655). If private use of the van is insignificant then no benefit will apply.

Basic Corporation Tax reliefs

There are a significant number of reliefs that can reduce the amount of Corporation Tax your company needs to pay on profits made. Your company can also claim Capital Allowances for assets such as equipment, machinery and cars bought to use in your business.

The basic Corporation Tax reliefs include the following:

Research and Development tax reliefs – There are two schemes for claiming relief for R&D expenditure. The schemes are known as the Small or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Scheme for smaller companies and the Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) scheme for large companies. Large companies can currently claim a 12% RDEC also known as an 'above the line tax credit' for qualifying expenditure, whilst the SME scheme offers even more generous reliefs.

The Patent Box – This relief allows qualifying companies to apply a lower 10% Corporation Tax rate on profits arising from patent exploitation.

Creative industry tax reliefs (CITR) – This is the term for a collection of Corporation Tax reliefs that allow qualifying companies to claim a larger deduction, or in some circumstances claim a payable tax credit when calculating their taxable profits. The relief applies to qualifying expenditure in the production of certain films, high-end television, animation, video games, children’s television, theatre, orchestra and museum & galleries exhibitions.

Relief on goodwill and relevant assets – Since 1 April 2019, the Corporation Tax relief restriction rules for certain acquisitions of goodwill and relevant assets changed. If relief is available, it is at a fixed rate of 6.5% a year on the lower of the cost of the relevant asset or 6 times the cost of any qualifying IP assets in the business purchased.

Loss relief – There are various Corporation Tax reliefs that may be available where your company or organisation makes trading, terminal, capital or property income losses. For example, trading losses may be used to claim relief from Corporation Tax by offsetting the loss against other gains or profits of the business in the same or previous accounting period.

Planning point

If you are concerned your company may not be receiving the appropriate amount of tax relief please call so that we can help you consider your options.

Tax implications for construction industry

If you run a construction business and secure the services of sub-contractors, or if you are a building sub-contractor, you will need to comply with a special set of tax rules collectively known as the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS). 

The CIS rules determine the tax and National Insurance treatment for those working in the construction industry. 

Under the scheme, contractors are required to deduct money from a sub-contractor’s payments and pass it to HMRC. The deductions count as advance payments towards the sub-contractor’s tax and National Insurance liabilities.

Contractors are defined as those who pay sub-contractors for construction work or who spent an average of more than £1m a year on construction over a three-year period. Sub-contractors do not have to register for the CIS, but contractors must deduct 30% from their payments as unregistered sub-contractors.

To avoid the 30% deduction, sub-contractors will need to register with HMRC and qualify for a 20% deduction or apply for gross payment status. If gross payment status is secured the contractor will not make a deduction and the sub-contractor will be responsible to pay all their tax and National Insurance at the end of the tax year.

The CIS covers all construction work carried out in the UK. Exceptions to the definition of construction work includes professional work done by architects and surveyors, carpet fitting, scaffolding hire (with no labour) and work on construction sites that’s clearly not construction. The CIS does not apply to construction work carried on outside the UK.

In addition, from 1 October 2020, sub-contractors will no longer add VAT to their supplies to most building customers, instead, contractors will be obliged to pay the deemed output VAT on behalf of their registered sub-contractor suppliers. This will be known as the Domestic Reverse Charge. The new rules will make the supply of construction services between construction or building businesses subject to the Domestic Reverse Charge. These rules were meant to come into effect from 1 October 2019 but have been delayed allowing the industry more time to prepare.