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HMRC and Companies House team up on online filing

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HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and Companies House have announced that they have adopted a common approach to the online filing of company tax returns.

One of the recommendations of the 2006 Carter review of the tax authorities’ online services was that HMRC and Companies House should offer a joint online filing facility.

The Carter review also proposed that businesses and organisations that need to file a company tax return online should do so using eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), a format that makes reporting of financial information easier, the idea being to reduce the administrative burden for companies.

Companies House has now said that it is in a position to accept Inline XBRL.

The joint announcement added that Companies House will introduce their iXBRL service for unaudited full accounts by the summer of 2010, and then continue to develop their iXBRL capability for all the main types of accounts they receive.

HMRC’s new iXBRL service for company tax returns should be available from November 2009, while commercial software that is iXBRL-enabled is due to come on stream in the spring of 2010.

All company returns will need to be submitted online in iXBRL format as from April 2011 for accounting periods ending after 31 March 2010.

The returns include the actual return form, company accounts and tax calculations.

Mark Holden, the director of HMRC’s Carter programme, said: “[This is] an important step towards our goal of offering a joint filing facility for company accounts and company tax returns as recommended by Lord Carter’s Review of HMRC’s online services.”

Gareth Jones, chief executive of Companies House, added: “This early statement of our intentions will reassure businesses that both HMRC and Companies House are working closely together to align our services to make the filing of accounts as easy as possible for UK companies.”