A SHROPSHIRE and POWYS accountant is urging businesses to make alternative plans for when HMRC’s current free corporation tax software is withdrawn next year. Tax expert, Rob Ellis, who lives in Llanfechain and works from his office in Willow Street, Oswestry, is warning local businesses of the need to make alternative plans prior to the change which happens in 2016.
Rob Ellis explains: “At the moment, providing a client’s tax affairs are relatively simple, you can use HMRC’s free Adobe PDF software to file corporation tax returns and accounts at Companies House. “Although this software was originally designed for companies to file their own corporation tax return, many accountants and other agents also have access to it, but everything is due to change on 1 January 2016.” This means anyone who does their own corporation tax returns or employs an accountant who uses this free software needs to be making plans now for the future.
Rob said: “For people doing their own returns the current software is to be replaced by a new company tax return and accounts filing service called Company Accounts and Tax Online (CATO). “The idea is that CATO, which is a fully online service, will make it quicker and easier for companies to file their own annual accounts to Companies House and company tax returns to HMRC at the same time or separately.” However, Rob believes since change is now inevitable it is a good chance for people to totally review the software they or their accountant are using as there are a variety of other packages available which might save them time and money in the long run.”
Rob said: “There are a number of cloud-based book keeping software on offer at the moment – but a lot of them can really complicate things and I often see situations where people have been doing their own tax returns and getting things wrong, so I would always urge people to seek advice, whichever software they decide to use.”
HMRC’s current free software will continue to be available for accounting periods ending on or before 31 December 2015, providing they are filed by the twelve-month deadline of 31 December 2016. But Rob says businesses need to make sure they have new software in place for accounting periods ending on or after 1 January 2016. People should also ensure that any software they use is from a supplier that is on HMRC’s approved list.