CT600: Are you considering the alternatives?

By Steven Cox | 30th March 2016 | 15 min read

The Government’s free corporation tax software for filing CT600s will no longer be available for clients’ tax returns for periods ending on or after 1st January 2016, so you should already be thinking about your alternatives...

HMRC will be introducing a new service known as CATO (Company Accounts and Tax Online), intended to make it quicker and easier for unrepresented companies to submit their own annual accounts to Companies House. However, this won’t be available to professionals such as accountants or providers of tax services.

HMRC has stated that such agents were never its intended targets for the free service, and their new strategy is inline with their current digital focus on enabling a closer relationship with individual tax payers (or 'customers' in HMRC's own terminology) rather than their intermediaries.

Making alternative arrangements

For approximately 300,000 agents, the challenge is to find a commercial alternative. HMRC’s CT600 offering was relatively unsophisticated but had the bonus of being both simple and free; now that cost is to be taken into consideration, you’ll want to make a price-sensitive choice that doesn’t add complexity to your practice. There are additional factors involved, too:


Which pricing model works best for you? An annual license subscription will save significant costs if you have a lot or returns.


What suits you best – replacing HMRC’s service with a similar, form-based solution? Or is now an opportune time to review your practice software and consider integration, e.g. accounts, company admin, practice management? You may already be using extendable accountancy software that can also cover CT600 completion and filing.

On-premise or cloud-based

With the digital revolution in full flow, you have the option of restricting your software to your practice server or opting for cloud-based software that’s accessible over an internet connection from anywhere in the world (at home, traveling, with the client…).


What added value can potential software providers deliver to help transform a ‘grudge purchase’ into one that benefits your practice in the long term – do they offer free, technical, round the clock telephone support? Are they committed to knowledge transfer through events and online resources? Is training readily available?


Implementing a proprietary CT600 solution may be a new development for your practice, but such solutions have been on the market for some time – what’s your potential provider’s track record in CT600 software? How many other professionals are using it? How regularly is it refreshed/updated? What’s their understanding of, and compliance with, HMRC’s requirements?

Your options with IRIS

Whether you're a small practice needing a like-for-like alternative to HMRC’s free service and you’re keen to harness the advantages of cloud technology or you’re an established practice already using IRIS software, we have a CT600 solution to suit:

If you’re interested in cloud software that enables instant access from any location, IRIS OpenTax is the product for you.

To achieve greater efficiencies across your practice with an integrated software package, IRIS Business Tax has everything you need.

For a direct replacement for HMRC’s simple form-filling service, PTP CT Platform ticks all the right boxes.

For more information on all of the above, check out our CT600 Briefing Paper:


The end of CT600 gives rise to a new opportunity for your practice.

IRIS has 37 years’ worth of experience in helping firms like yours comply with HMRC’s evolving requirements, so talk to us today about how we can help you and your clients make a smooth transition to a CT600 alternative and gain greater value for your business in doing so.


About the author

Steven Cox

Chief Evangelist

Steve is Chief Evangelist of IRIS; a technologist and chartered accountant (FCCA) who looks at how technology can simplify the modern working environment.

He joined IRIS in 2002, who’s career at IRIS has spanned many areas of the business including Customer Support, Engineering and Product Management. His most recent previous roles at IRIS include Senior Product Director and Interim CTO.

Steve has over 18 years of experience in technology and accounting which he uses to work closely with customers, software companies, accounting/governing bodies and the government to champion the digital transformation of UK Education organisations, SMEs and Accountants.

In Steve’s current role as Chief Evangelist, he has looked across the globe at how technology and legislation is changing the roles and requirements professionals in the workplace and looking to the future to predict how their roles will further evolve.