Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs legislation that came into force on January 1, 2010, made it mandatory for UK companies to file their company tax returns in Inline XBRL (iXBRL) format. The iXBRL tagging requirement was effective for tax returns — including company accounts and tax computations — delivered on or after 1 April 2011, for any accounting period ending after 31 March 2010.
To simplify the iXBRL tagging process for micro-entities and small businesses with straightforward accounts, the HMRC and Companies House provides a free Company Accounts and Tax Online (CATO) service. Using the CATO service, these entities can file their tax returns, which include their accounts and computations, both to HMRC and Companies House in iXBRL format.
Companies that can use the CATO service
A company whose accounting period starts after March 31, 2012; a company that is a charity and has a turnover of up to £6.5 million per year; a company whose turnover is up to £632,000 per year and is either: a limited company, community amateur sports club, members club or other unincorporated organization, community interest company.
Companies that cannot use the CATO service
As per the UK government website, the following companies cannot use the CATO service.
A company in liquidation or receivership, one that is not registered in the UK, or a company that is part of a group cannot use the CATO service. Insurance companies, investment companies, credit unions, commercial property management companies, and mutual concerns are also not eligible to use the CATO service. Instead, these companies can avail of iXBRL tagging services.
We have compiled a short checklist for companies who cannot use the CATO service, and who are on the lookout for iXBRL tagging service providers.
Look for the right credentials and certification
Make sure you research the background and credentials of an HMRC iXBRL tagging services provider. How long has the firm been in the business of iXBRL services? How many iXBRL filings has the service provider handled so far? Answers to these questions would indicate how well the service provider is equipped to handle your HMRC iXBRL tagging. You could also check if your service provider is recognized by HMRC and listed on their website.
Look for customer references
Are an HMRC iXBRL tagging service provider’s claims backed up by customer references? Are there client testimonials on the service provider’s website that vouch for top-notch services? You might be a little skeptical when service providers talk about how good they are at what they do. But you cannot deny it when their clients vouch for what they say. So, make sure your research includes customer references and testimonials. You have a good deal in hand when you can reach out to the service provider’s existing clients and get answers to your questions.
Does the service provider offer flexible working models?
Does the HMRC iXBRL tagging service provider under consideration offers you the flexibility to choose between in-house and outsourcing tagging options or a blend of both approaches? Take care to choose just the right mix to help you perfectly comply with HMRC requirements.
Does the service provider offer support any time you need it?
The HMRC iXBRL tagging services provider under your consideration should offer adequate support and expert assistance whenever you need it. Check if the provider works in your time zone and make sure that you are adequately covered whenever you need help. Find out what is the best way to access support — email or phone. Also, check if you are going to be charged extra for any additional support hours.