Logo and name of 'HM Revenue & Customs' in green lettering Companies House will notify HMRC when any new company is registered, so there is no need for you to contact them separately to inform them of your company’s existence. Your company details will be entered into HMRC’s database soon after formation and they will send documentation to your registered office address containing your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) – which you must use any time you contact HMRC – as well as information about the tax and accounting requirements of your company and details of how to register for Corporation Tax, PAYE and VAT.

Registering with HMRC for Corporation Tax purposes

If your company is ‘active’ – trading – it is liable for corporation tax on all taxable profits and you must register with HMRC for corporation tax purposes, online or in writing, within 3 months of starting any business activity. If you use HMRC’s online service to register for corporation tax, your company will be automatically enrolled for Corporation Tax Online. During the registration process you will be asked for your company registration number and your UTR, and you will be required to set up a Government Gateway account at this time – this is necessary for registering your business for all types of tax, signing up for any other HMRC online services and paying your company taxes online. Once you have set up your Government Gateway account, simply follow the online instructions and provide HMRC with the following statutory information:

  • The date your company’s corporation tax accounting period began or is likely to begin (the date you began/plan to begin trading).
  • The registered name and number of your company.
  • The address of your company’s main place of business (not your registered office address, unless this is where your main business activities will be carried out).
  • The nature of your company’s business activities.
  • The date to which the company intends to prepare its statutory accounts (this will be the default Accounting Reference Date provided by Companies House).

Within seven days of your registration being verified by HMRC you will receive an Activation Code (or PIN) at your registered office address and you must then activate the online service immediately.

Active Companies and Corporation Tax

Active companies are required to pay corporation tax within 9 months and 1 day of the end of their accounting period, the date of which HMRC will provide shortly after you register your company for Corporation Tax. Typically, the accounting period is 12 months long and usually matches the 12-month financial year of your company – Companies House will provide the dates of your financial year, which is when you will file your statutory accounts. Your Tax Return will be due a little later than payment of tax – it should be filed online within 12 months of the end of your company’s accounting period.

Dormant Companies and Corporation Tax

If your company is inactive – not trading – it will not be liable for Corporation Tax, therefore, you will not be required to register for Corporation Tax or file a tax return for as long as it remains dormant. Instead, you will be required to contact your local Corporation Tax Office in writing to tell them your company is dormant and not liable for Corporation Tax at this time, stating the date from which it became dormant. If your company has never traded, you should provide the date of incorporation as the date from which your company has been dormant. Within approximately 15 days, you should receive confirmation from your tax office confirming your company’s dormant status. You should not have to contact HMRC again until your company begins trading, unless you are contacted and asked to do otherwise.