How to Pay Corporation Tax: Deadlines, Methods, & Requirements

As a leading asset finance company, we believe it’s essential to equip our clients with the knowledge they need to navigate their financial responsibilities effectively. For businesses, corporation tax is a critical aspect of financial planning and management. It affects the overall profitability of the company, its cash flow, and its ability to invest in growth and expansion. Understanding how corporation tax works and staying compliant with its regulations is essential to avoid penalties and maintain a strong financial standing. In this blog, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of corporation tax payments, covering deadlines, payment methods, and essential requirements.

What is Corporation Tax?

Corporation tax is a fundamental financial obligation tax imposed on the profits generated by limited companies during their accounting periods. In essence, it represents a portion of a company’s earnings that is paid to the government to contribute to public services, infrastructure, and other state functions.

We’ll delve deeper into the intricacies of corporation tax, covering crucial details and requirements. Whether you’re a new business owner or looking to enhance your understanding, our comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge you need to navigate corporation tax confidently.

Understanding Corporation Tax Deadlines

When it comes to managing your corporation tax, staying on top of deadlines is paramount. Meeting these deadlines ensures that your company remains compliant and avoids unnecessary penalties. In this section, we’ll break down the key aspects of corporation tax deadlines, including accounting periods, filing deadlines, and payment deadlines.

Accounting Periods

An accounting period is the timeframe for which your company’s financial activities are assessed. It’s essential to accurately determine your accounting period, as it directly influences your corporation tax obligations. Typically, an accounting period spans 12 months, although exceptions can apply. Ensuring your accounting period aligns with your business operations is crucial for accurate tax calculations.

Filing Deadlines

Filing your corporation tax return is a formal requirement that outlines your company’s profits, gains, and other financial details for the accounting period. The filing deadline for your corporation tax return is determined by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). It’s imperative to submit your return on time to avoid penalties.

The filing deadline varies depending on factors such as your company’s size and the end of your accounting period. Smaller companies may have different deadlines than larger corporations. Failure to file on time can result in financial penalties and even legal consequences.

Payment Deadlines

Paying your corporation tax on time is as crucial as filing your return promptly. The payment deadline is the date by which your tax liability for the accounting period must be settled with HMRC. The payment deadline is usually set nine months and one day after the end of your accounting period.

Missing the payment deadline can lead to financial repercussions, including interest charges on the outstanding amount. It’s essential to calculate your tax liability accurately and ensure funds are available to meet the payment deadline.

Corporation Tax Payment Methods

When it comes to paying your corporation tax, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) provides several convenient payment methods to suit different preferences and circumstances. In this section, we’ll delve into the various options available for making your corporation tax payments, ensuring a seamless and compliant process.

Online Payment

Paying your corporation tax online is a secure and efficient method that offers the flexibility to complete the transaction at your convenience. HMRC’s online corporation tax payment service allows you to pay using a debit or credit card. You’ll need your corporation tax reference number and the amount you owe to initiate the payment. Keep in mind that credit card payments may incur processing fees.

Bank Transfer

Another common method for paying corporation tax is via bank transfer. This involves transferring the owed amount directly from your company’s bank account to HMRC’s designated bank account. To make a bank transfer, you’ll need HMRC’s bank account details and your corporation tax payment reference. It’s important to double-check the accuracy of the information to ensure a smooth transaction.

Direct Debit

For businesses with regular corporation tax payments, setting up a direct debit can offer convenience and peace of mind. This method enables you to authorize HMRC to collect the owed amount directly from your business bank account on specified dates. Direct debit ensures timely payments, reducing the risk of missing deadlines and incurring penalties.

Whichever payment method you choose, it’s essential to keep meticulous records of your transactions and payment references. This documentation will be valuable for your company’s financial records and future reference. As you explore the various corporation tax payment methods, consider your business’s financial circumstances and preferences. By selecting the most suitable method for your needs, you can streamline the payment process and maintain a positive relationship with HMRC.

Requirements for Paying Corporation Tax

Meeting the requirements for paying is essential to ensure accurate and timely payments, maintain compliance, and avoid penalties. In this section, we’ll outline the key prerequisites for a smooth payment process.

Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)

Your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) is a distinctive identifier assigned to your company by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). This reference is crucial for accurately tracking your tax obligations and ensuring that payments are correctly allocated to your business. You’ll need your UTR when filing your corporation tax return, making payments, and communicating with HMRC about your tax affairs.

Corporation Tax Calculation

Accurately calculating your corporation tax liability is a foundational requirement. It involves determining your company’s taxable profits for the accounting period and applying the applicable tax rate. Factors such as allowable expenses, capital allowances, and reliefs can influence your tax calculation. Ensuring precision in your calculations is vital to avoid underpaying or overpaying taxes.

Record Keeping

Maintaining comprehensive and organised records is essential for meeting corporation tax requirements. Your records should include financial statements, invoices, receipts, and other relevant documentation. Proper record-keeping supports accurate tax calculations, facilitates auditing processes, and provides an overall view of your company’s financial health.

Tax Payment Reference (TPR)

When making corporation tax payments, including both the correct amount and a valid Tax Payment Reference (TPR) is crucial. The TPR is a unique identifier that ensures your payment is attributed to the correct tax liability. It’s provided by HMRC and varies based on your payment type and accounting period. Including the accurate TPR prevents delays and potential errors in payment processing.

Take Control of Your Corporation Tax Responsibilities

Navigating the realm of corporation tax payments doesn’t have to be daunting. With the insights provided in this comprehensive guide, you’re equipped to tackle deadlines, choose the right payment methods, and fulfill essential requirements with confidence.

At Portman, we understand the significance of efficient financial management for your business’s success. Whether you’re a small start-up or an established corporation, staying compliant with tax obligations are a crucial part of your journey. If your bill is higher than expected, you didn’t plan for it or would simply prefer to spread the costs, business loans are available to help you avoid falling into a Time to Pay arrangement,  are a crucial part of your journey. By mastering the intricacies of corporation tax, you’re not only ensuring compliance but also setting the stage for a solid financial foundation.

Contact us today to explore our business finance solutions.


News & Articles FAQs

Has the 25% corporation tax rate been enacted?

As of April 2023, corporation tax increased from 19% to 25% for all companies with profits greater than £250,000 per year. A new small profits rate was also introduced for companies whose profits are below £50,000 per year. This new rate currently sits at 19%. For companies with profits between £50,000 and £250,000 a system of marginal relief will apply. Use the government’s marginal relief calculator if you fall into this bracket: Calculate Marginal Relief.

Do dividends reduce corporation tax?

No. Paying dividends will not affect your tax bill as companies pay corporation tax on their profits before dividends are distributed.

Can I make an early corporation tax payment?

Yes, you can make an early corporation tax payment as long as it is within the current accounting period. Early payments can help you stay ahead of your tax obligations and manage cash flow effectively.

How is interest calculated on late corporation tax payments?

Interest on late corporation tax payments is calculated daily at the prevailing HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) interest rate. The interest starts accruing from the payment deadline until the outstanding amount is settled.

Can I change my accounting period for corporation tax?

Yes, in some cases, you can change your accounting period for corporation tax. However, certain conditions and restrictions apply, so it’s advisable to consult with your accountant or HMRC for guidance.

What reliefs and allowances are available for corporation tax?

There are various reliefs and allowances available to reduce your corporation tax liability, such as Research and Development (R&D) tax credits, Capital Allowances, and Creative Industry Tax Reliefs (CITR). Understanding and utilising these reliefs can significantly benefit your business.