Farewell to HMRC’s Free CT600 Form – And How Best to Replace It

Farewell to HMRC’s Free CT600 Form – And How Best to Replace It
By Alan Gregory | 3rd August 2016 | 14 min read

As the Making Tax Digital juggernaut rolls ever closer, there have been a whole load of changes to HMRC’s digital offering. One of these is the demise of the Government’s free form-based corporation tax software. Here’s what you need to know:

The free filing software was for small firms with reasonably simple tax affairs; it was used by some practitioners to file on behalf of their clients. It was later retired and replaced with a new service called Company Accounts and Tax Online (CATO). CATO is a basic online service, with no need to download forms. The sting in the tail? Agents are not be able to use this service.

In terms of timing, the old software remained in-situ for accounting periods ending on or before 31 December 2015 and could be used until 31 December 2016.

Most accountants have been relatively unaffected by this, as they will already have software from their chosen provider that enables them to file tax and accounts. Of course, the bonus of the CT600 form was that it cost nothing, so for practitioners that do need a substitute, a cost-effective solution will be important.

The free HMRC form was obviously limited in what it offered, so the benefit of needing to branch out to an alternative is that there are far more sophisticated options on the market. You can opt for a similar form-style solution, or integrated practice software, or you could look to the cloud. The good news is that there are affordable options around.

First things first, check what you have. See whether the function is already offered within the software you’re using – it may be something you’ve overlooked. If it isn’t, see whether it could be added as a bolt-on service, the cost of which you could spread across all clients. If not included, it offers an opportunity to reflect on what you need for your practice and shop around.

Our tax software enables you to file CT600 returns, as well as iXBRL computations and iXBRL accounts online to HMRC. We’ve made this process seamless.

We all love getting something for nothing! And it is understandably irritating when a free service stops. With CT600, there are plenty of better alternatives that could offer practitioners and their clients much more.