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Starting a company or organisation and Corporation Tax

When you set up a new company or organisation you must tell HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) if it's liable for Corporation Tax, pay any Corporation Tax due and file a Company Tax Return on time.

HMRC Corporation Tax requirements are separate to what your company needs to do for Companies House.

This guide will help your company or organisation meet its Corporation Tax requirements and explain what will happen if it doesn't. It also explains what you need to do if your new company or organisation is not yet 'active' or is 'dormant'.

On this page:

Corporation Tax for new companies and organisations

When you set up a new company or organisation that's liable for Corporation Tax you must:

  • tell HMRC your company or organisation is liable for Corporation Tax
  • file a Company Tax Return for each Corporation Tax accounting period

You must take these steps regardless of whether your company or organisation will actually have any Corporation Tax to pay. You may need to take these steps whether or not your company or organisation is active.

Who is liable for Corporation Tax

Trading and non-trading for Corporation Tax explained

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Starting a company: what you must do for Companies House

A limited company is one of the ways that you can structure a business. In contrast to other types of businesses (for example sole traders or partnerships), or unincorporated associations (for example members' clubs), a limited company is a legal entity distinct from its shareholders (or members) and directors.

A limited company comes into existence when it is registered at Companies House. Limited companies must also file certain documents with Companies House - when they are first set up and on an ongoing (normally annual) basis.

These Companies House filing requirements are separate to what your company needs to do for HMRC Corporation Tax purposes.

For more information about limited companies and Companies House requirements follow the links below.

Find out more about business structures on the Business Link website

Find out how to form a limited company on the Business Link website

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Starting a company: what you must do for Corporation Tax

When your limited company is formed and registered at Companies House, Companies House tells HMRC that this has happened.

This applies whether you start your business as a limited company or change from a sole trader or partnership to a limited company. It also applies whether or not your company is active or has started trading.

HMRC sends a newly formed company an Introductory Pack within six weeks of being told by Companies House that the new company exists. This pack contains Corporation Tax forms and explanatory notes for new companies - including form CT41G (New company details). The pack is usually sent to your company's registered office, which may or may not be the same address that you trade from.

You should complete and send form CT41G (New company details) to your Corporation Tax Office as soon as possible. If your company is dormant you should complete form CT41G (Dormant company insert) instead.

If you didn't receive the introductory pack from HMRC or you've lost it, you can download form CT41G, fill it in and return it to HMRC.

Go to form CT41G (New company details) and explanatory notes

Go to form CT41G (Dormant company insert) and explanatory notes

Find your Corporation Tax Office

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When your new company has started trading: what you must do for Corporation Tax

You must tell HMRC that your company exists within three months of your company becoming active for Corporation Tax purposes. The easiest way to do this is to complete and send form CT41G (New company details) to your Corporation Tax Office.

The information about your company that you need to give to HMRC includes:

  • registered name and company number
  • registered address as registered at Companies House
  • business address, which may or may not be the same as the registered address
  • the nature of your business - what trade, profession or activity your company will be carrying out
  • the date you intend to use as the last day of your first accounting year, usually the 'accounting reference date' you have agreed with Companies House (known to HMRC as 'the date to which the company intends to prepare accounts')
  • the name and home address of each director of the company

You must provide this information to HMRC even if you have already given the information to another HMRC tax area such as VAT, or another government agency such as Companies House.

You should use form CT41G (New company details) to give this information to HMRC. This form is included in the Introductory Pack that HMRC sends to new companies. If you have not received it, you can download the form and send it back to your Corporation Tax Office.

Go to form CT41G (New company details) and explanatory notes

Find your Corporation Tax Office

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If your new company has not yet started trading: what you must do for Corporation Tax

You need to tell HMRC as soon as possible if your company has been set up but is not yet trading or engaging in any business activity. In other words your company is dormant.

You should use form CT41G (Dormant company insert) to tell HMRC that your new company is dormant. You should have received this form in your Introductory Pack. If not, you can download it and send it back to your Corporation Tax Office.

Go to form CT41G (Dormant company insert) and explanatory notes

Find your Corporation Tax Office

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What to do for Corporation Tax when you set up a new club, society or association

The various requirements to tell HMRC that a company is liable for Corporation Tax, pay any Corporation Tax due and file a Company Tax Return on time also apply to certain members' clubs, societies, associations and some other unincorporated bodies.

But HMRC does not normally ask clubs and societies with 'very small tax liabilities' (known to HMRC as 'small' clubs) to file a Company Tax Return. In these circumstances, HMRC will treat your organisation as dormant for Corporation Tax purposes. If you are unclear about your club or society's Corporation Tax position you should ask your Corporation Tax Office for advice.

If your organisation is liable for Corporation Tax you must tell HMRC:

  • the full name and address of your organisation
  • the date your organisation was formed
  • the date you intend to use as the last day of your first accounting year (known to HMRC as 'the date to which the organisation intends to prepare accounts')
  • whether or not your organisation is likely to be paying any remuneration to employees or office holders
  • whether or not your organisation is a charity and if so the charity registration number

You must provide this information to HMRC regardless of whether you have already given it to another HMRC tax area such as PAYE, or another organisation such as the Charity Commission.

The best way to give HMRC this information is to download and fill in form CT41G (Clubs) and send it to your Corporation Tax Office. Find your Corporation Tax Office by using the link below.

Unincorporated organisations and Corporation Tax

Go to form CT41G (Clubs)

Find your Corporation Tax Office

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Using an accountant or other agent to deal with HMRC

You can appoint an accountant or tax adviser - known to HMRC as an agent - to deal with HMRC on your behalf when you start a new company or organisation and for all your other Corporation Tax affairs.

Appointing someone to deal with your Corporation Tax affairs

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More useful links

Corporation Tax glossary

Deadlines and requirements for Corporation Tax

Managing your cash flow to pay Corporation Tax on time

Corporation Tax penalties

Attend a free HMRC workshop on starting a new limited company

VAT

PAYE for employers

National Insurance contributions for employers

Construction Industry Scheme

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