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What are your business and tax online filing obligations?

We though you would be interested to know what your legal obligations are to file information online.

Limited companies

All companies are required to file a corporation tax return together with an electronic copy of the statutory accounts to H M Revenue & Customs. The returns have to be filed online, generally within 12 months of the end of your accounting period for corporation tax purposes. Penalties will be charged if you miss the filing deadline.

Additionally, companies need to file an annual return and a further copy of the annual accounts with Companies House. At present the requirement to file online is optional although filing fees are reduced in some circumstances if you do file online. Penalties may apply if you miss the relevant filing deadline.

Self-employed business owners

If you are a sole trader or in partnership you are required to prepare and submit a personal self-assessment tax return. (If you are in partnership the business and partners will all have to file returns.) Self-assessment returns can still be filed as a paper version but you get an additional 3 months to file return if you file electronically. For example the paper version of the 2013 return has to be filed by 31 October 2013; the deadline for filing the same return online is 31 January 2014.

In both cases penalties will be charged if you miss the filing deadline.

Business owners with employees

Employers are required to provide details of the amounts and deductions from their employees' wages and salaries when they are paid. This Real Time Information process replaced the need for annual filing of payroll data from 6 April 2013, for smaller businesses, and for all employers by October 2013.

The information has to be filed electronically in the majority of cases and most payroll software providers allow for this. Penalties will be applied if you are late in submitting the data to HMRC.

Building contractors and sub-contractors

At present there is no requirement to file Construction Industry returns online. Contractors have the option to send in paper returns or file electronically.

It is probably easier and more certain to meet filing deadlines by using software or HMRCs CIS Online facility. Penalties for late submission of monthly and other returns apply.

VAT registered business owners

All VAT registered businesses are legally obliged to submit their VAT returns online and pay any VAT due electronically. Only a few traders are exempt from this requirement.

Penalties and interest apply if you are late filing or paying your returns.

Pension scheme administrators

Administrators of pension schemes must use Pension Schemes Online service to:
• register a pension scheme
• change the scheme administrator for a pension scheme - notifying that you're no longer the Scheme administrator or making the administrator's declaration and telling HMRC you're a new Scheme administrator
• submit an Event Report
• submit a Registered Pension Scheme Return
• submit an Accounting for Tax (AFT) Return - including making an amendment to a previously submitted AFT Return.

Excise Movement and Control System

Since January 2011 all intra-UK duty suspended movements of goods are tracked online. The EMCS process allows real time notification of despatch and receipt of duty suspended excise goods to HM Revenue & Customs.

Customers in EU

You will need to complete and file an EC Sales List (ESL) showing each of your customers in the EU and the £ value of the supplies you've made to them. You must make a separate entry for each type of supply to each customer.

There is no minimum amount you must list every supply, no matter how small. If you haven't made any supplies (or issued any credit notes) in the reporting period, you should not submit an ESL and the Online service will not allow you to submit a nil declaration.

In summary

If you are a client and we are instructed you will be pleased to know that we meet these obligations on your behalf. If you are not a client, and would like a quote to outsource this work, please call...