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How do you tell HMRC a company is dormant or active?

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Dormant is a term that HMRC and Companies House use for a company or organisation that is not active, trading or carrying on business activity. But HMRC and Companies House use the term dormant in slightly different ways.

For Corporation Tax purposes, HMRC views a dormant company as a company that’s not active, not liable for Corporation Tax or not within the charge to Corporation Tax.

A dormant company can be, for example:

  • a new company that’s not yet trading
  • an ‘off-the-shelf’ or ‘shell’ company held by a company formation agent intending to sell it on
  • a company that will never be trading because it has been formed to own an asset such as land or intellectual property
  • an existing company that has been – but is not currently – trading
  • a company that’s no longer trading and destined to be removed from the Companies Register

Generally your company or organisation is considered to be active for Corporation Tax purposes when it is, for example:

  • carrying on a business activity such as a trade or professional activity
  • buying and selling goods with a view to making a profit or surplus
  • providing services
  • earning interest
  • managing investments
  • receiving any other income

This definition of being active for Corporation Tax purposes is not necessarily the same as that used by HMRC in relation to other tax areas such as VAT, or by other government agencies such as Companies House.

If your limited company has been dormant but is now active, you must tell HMRC within three months of starting your tax accounting period. The best way to do this is to use HMRC’s online registration service.

HMRC have further details on this link

To contact HMRC you will need your Company UTR number and the 3 digit tax office number, then you can use this link to find out contact details for you Corporation Tax Office

When you call, Option 3 is for Dormant Companies and Option 4 is for Active Companies.

Then you will need to write to HMRC to advise them of the change in activity status.

Companies House still require Annual Returns and Annual Accounts even if the company is dormant, but these are obviously easy as there are no changes from the previous year.

steve@bicknells.net


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