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UK Corporation Tax

Corporation Tax is a tax on your company's taxable income or profits

You must tell the Inland Revenue that your company exists and that it is liable to tax.

The word 'company' is also used to include:

  • members' clubs, societies and associations
  • trade associations
  • housing associations
  • groups of individuals carrying on a business but not as a partnership, (for example, co-operatives).

Companies that are resident in the UK are subject to Corporation Tax on their profits (income plus gains) arising in an accounting period. An accounting period cannot be more than 12 months. Company accounts prepared for a period of more than 12 months are apportioned between the first 12 months and the remainder. Non-resident companies may be subject to Corporation Tax where they trade in the UK through a permanent establishment.

  • A company incorporated in the UK is treated as UK resident.
  • A non-UK incorporated company is treated as resident in the UK if its central management and control is exercised in the UK.

Taxable profits
The amounts of income and capital gains are basically determined by the tax rules that apply to individuals. Companies are subject to many special rules and qualify for some special tax reliefs.

In particular:

  • Small and medium size companies can deduct 150%, and large companies 125%, of qualifying revenue expenditure on research and development.
  • The corporate venturing scheme gives companies tax relief of 20% on the cost of subscribing for shares in a qualifying unquoted company under similar conditions to the enterprise investment scheme.
  • Tax relief is given on the cost of intangible assets acquired after 31 March 2002 at the rate of depreciation in the accounts or 4% a year, whichever is the greater.

Company Capital Gains
A company's capital gains are subject to Corporation Tax at the normal rates with no annual exemption.

  • Companies continue to receive indexation relief on gains and do not receive taper relief.
  • Capital gains may be offset by capital losses of the same accounting period or capital losses brought forward from previous periods.
  • Roll-over relief is available where business assets are replaced.
  • Qualifying disposals of substantial holdings (at least 10%) are exempt. The vendor and the company being sold must satisfy a trading condition and the vendor must have owned the shares for at least 12 months.
  • Companies are subject to different identification rules from individuals for disposals of shares and securities.

Losses

A company's trading losses can normally be set against:

  • Income and gains of the same accounting period.
  • Income and gains of the previous year.
  • Trading profits from the same trade in future years.

Losses of the final 12 months of a trade can be carried back three years. Losses are set against more recent periods before earlier periods.

Groups

Profits and losses are calculated separately for each company. However, group relief generally allows trading losses, losses on property letting, management expenses and certain other deductions to be surrendered by one company and set against the profits of other companies in the same group.
In general, 'group' means that 75% of the ordinary share capital of one company is owned by another company; or several companies may share the same parent owning at least 75% of the share capital.


What you have to do

For Corporation Tax, companies:

  • have to work out their own tax liability
  • have to pay their tax without prior assessment by the Inland Revenue
    and
  • are liable to penalties if they do not deliver a return by the statutory filing date, normally 12 months after the end of the accounting period.

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