Have you used the new HMRC Corporate Filing service?
Susan Cattell updates members on the new HMRC Corporate Filing service, amidst concerns from ICAS about the exclusion of agents.
We reported in August that HMRC was developing a new free corporate filing service called Company Accounts and Tax Online (CATO). Unlike the current filing service CATO is not available for use by agents to file on behalf of clients.
Access is restricted to unrepresented companies and CATO is intended to make it quicker and easier for them to file their own annual accounts to Companies House and company tax returns to HMRC.
ICAS together with other professional bodies has raised concerns about the exclusion of agents but HMRC has confirmed that the policy will not be changed so the restriction is going ahead.
Agents who have been using HMRC’s free software
The current HMRC free software will continue to be available for accounting periods ending on or before 31 December 2015, and will remain available until 31 December 2016. This allows at least a year for agents to make alternative arrangements because a return for accounting periods ending 31 December 2015 will not normally be due until 31 December 2016. After that agents will have to use third party commercial software to file on behalf of clients.
Small companies using CATO
Small companies with straightforward affairs can already choose to use CATO to file. The system requires users to enter all their financial data: it then generates the accounts and computations for submission, together with the CT600. Unlike the current HMRC free filing software CATO cannot be used to generate the CT600 and submit it with uploaded iXBRL accounts and computations. CATO does not allow any documents to be uploaded.
ICAS would welcome feedback from members who have already used (or tried to use) CATO to file returns for their own companies. Comments should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.