The following types of organisations are liable for corporation tax:
- limited companies
- foreign companies with a UK branch or office
- unincorporated associations (eg non profit co-operatives and sports clubs)
In the tax year 2021-22, the standardised corporation tax rate is 19%. This applies to all businesses which are liable to pay corporation tax (apart from unit trusts and open-ended investment companies which must pay 20%).
Different rates are applicable to ring fence companies (which make profits from oil extraction or oil rights in the UK or UK continental shelf) - see GOV.UK.
Once a company has registered with Companies House and commenced business (which includes buying, selling, advertising, renting a property and employing people), it must register for corporation tax within three months. Late registration may incur a penalty.
Companies can register for corporation tax online using their Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR). They will also need the company registration number, the date on which they commenced business and the date to which their annual accounts are made up.
Companies liable for corporation tax must ensure that they keep adequate company, financial and accounting records, including:
Records must be kept for at least six years from the end of the last company financial year to which they relate. The Corporation Tax department of HMRC must be notified if any of these records are lost, stolen or destroyed.
For further information about records which must be kept, see GOV.UK.
Companies must pay corporation tax on any profits including:
Trading losses can be offset against profits but capital losses can only be offset against capital gains.
The deadline for payment of corporation tax in respect of taxable profits of up to £1.5 million is nine months and one day after the end of the company's accounting period.
If taxable profits exceed £1.5 million, corporation tax must be paid in installments.
If there are no profits, a company tax return is still required - and a 'nil to pay' form must be submitted to HMRC.
Costs of running a business can be deducted from profits when preparing company accounts. However, some expenses are not allowed for purposes of corporation tax (eg entertaining clients).
Capital allowances (ie assets which are purchased for use in business) can be deducted from profits. These include equipment, machinery and business vehicles.
Other reliefs include:
For further information on allowances and reliefs, see GOV.UK.