How to reduce your Corporation Tax bill

Chris Andreou

May 6, 2021

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Tax

Tactics on reducing your corporation tax bill

As a small business owner, staying on top of your finances can seem overwhelming, particularly when you're just starting out.

One of the key areas you need to keep an eye on is your taxes, and that's tricky subject to navigate. You want to reduce your tax bill wherever possible—and be in the good books of HMRC while doing so.   

Below, we'll share a few simple tactics you can implement to reduce your Corporation Tax. Keep in mind that these are tactics that apply to businesses in general, and depending on your situation or industry, there could be other tax reliefs that may apply.

And as your business grows, there may be allowances or deductions that you now qualify for, but missed out on applying for previously. As such, we highly recommend checking in with our accountants at Forma to clarify any tax issues you're unsure about. 

The basics of Corporation Tax

Advisor explaining how to reduce corporation tax

Before we dive into the tactics you can implement to reduce your Corporation Tax, here's a quick overview of the basics of Corporation Tax:  

What is Corporation Tax?

Corporation Tax refers to tax you pay on the profits earned by your company.

You'll need to register for Corporation Tax within three months of trading commencing. 

Who pays Corporation Tax?

Limited companies are required to pay Corporation Tax at a rate of 19 percent (for the 2021/22 tax year). 

Use our corporation tax calculator to work out how much corporation tax your company will need to pay.

When is it due? 

Your Corporation Tax is due nine months and one day following the end of your accounting period.

That means that if the end of your accounting period falls on 31st March 2021, your Corporation Tax must be paid up by 1st January 2022. The payment is made once per year for businesses with profits below £1.5 million. Companies with profits exceeding £1.5 million will make their payment in instalments.

Limited Company Expenses Guide

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Limited Company Expenses Guide

Salaries & Expenses to Claim

Claim your business expenses

It can seem tedious noting down minute business expenses amounting to no more than a few pounds—yet it pays to be meticulous, as these expenses can add up over the long run.

You'll need to keep proper records of your purchases, and apps such as Xero, BizXpenseTracker and Expensify can help simplify the process.   

Just keep in mind HMRC's rule, which states that all revenue expenses claimed must have been incurred "wholly and exclusively" for the purposes of running the business.

Here are a few examples of allowable business expenses:

  • Business entertainment expenses
  • Business travel expenses
  • Business use of home expenses
  • P11D expenses 
  • Pension contributions
  • Work from home allowance

For further information, refer to our guide for a comprehensive list of allowable limited company expenses you can claim as a limited company director.

Forma Limited Company Expenses Guide

Pay yourself a salary

Salaries are considered a business expense.

By paying yourself a salary, you're reducing your profit, and subsequently your Corporation Tax.

Early Tax Payment Incentives

Limited company director holding clock

Make an early payment to HMRC 

If you've paid tax early, HMRC will pay you a credit interest.

HMRC will typically pay interest from the date you pay your Corporation Tax to the payment deadline, and the earliest date they'll pay interest is six months and 13 days after the start of your accounting period.  

Here's an example:

If your accounting period starts on 1st January 2021 and ends on 31st December 2021, you can pay your Corporation Tax anytime between 13th July 2021 (six months and 13 days after the start of your accounting period) and 1st October 2021 (HMRC's deadline).

HMRC will usually pay you interest for the duration starting 13th July 2021 till 1st October 2021.

Take advantage of tax allowances and reliefs

Green light

Annual Investment Allowance (AIA)

If an item qualifies for the AIA, you can deduct its full value from your profits before tax.

You can claim AIA for most plant and machinery up to the AIA amount. This amount had been temporarily increased to £1 million until 31 December 2021, and it is set to revert to £200,000 starting 2022.

Do note that if you're running more than one business, you only get one AIA.

Business rates relief

The small business rates relief scheme reduces the amount of business rates small business owners need to pay.

The scheme is available to small business owners who own a single property with a rateable value of up to £15,000.

SME R&D relief

R&D tax reliefs are available to companies working on science and technology projects.

It allows businesses to deduct an extra 130% of their qualifying costs from their annual profit, or claim tax credits if the company is making a loss.

Patent Box tax relief

The Patent Box tax relief is available to companies earning profits from patented inventions. Eligible companies can apply for a lower rate of Corporation Tax (10%) on those profits.

Creative industry tax relief

This refers to a group of 8 Corporation Tax Reliefs available to certain types of businesses in creative industries.

Qualifying companies can claim a larger deduction, or claim a payable tax credit depending on the circumstances.

Limited Company Expenses Guide

What's Inside:

  • Allowable business expenses
  • Employee expenses
  • Travel expenses
  • Office & equipment expenses
  • Professional services expenses
  • General expenses
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Limited Company Expenses Guide

What's Inside:

  • Allowable business expenses
  • Employee expenses
  • Travel expenses
  • Office & equipment expenses
  • Professional services expenses
  • General expenses

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How to reduce your Corporation Tax bill Guide

How to reduce your Corporation Tax bill

As a small business owner, staying on top of your finances can seem overwhelming, particularly when you're just starting out.

One of the key areas you need to keep an eye on is your taxes, and that's tricky subject to navigate. You want to reduce your tax bill wherever possible-and be in the good books of HMRC while doing so.

Below, we'll share a few simple tactics you can implement to reduce your Corporation Tax. Keep in mind that these are tactics that apply to businesses in general, and depending on your situation or industry, there could be other tax reliefs that may apply.

And as your business grows, there may be allowances or deductions that you now qualify for, but missed out on applying for previously. As such, we highly recommend checking in with our accountants at Forma to clarify any tax issues you're unsure about.

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What is Corporation Tax? Guide

What is Corporation Tax?

Corporation tax refers to tax you pay on the profits earned by your company. You'll need to register for corporation tax within three months of trading commencing.

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How do I reduce corporation tax? Guide

How do I reduce corporation tax?

You can reduce your corporation tax bill by:

  • Claiming your business expenses
  • Paying yourself a salary
  • Taking advantage of HMRC's incentives for early tax payment
  • Taking advantage of tax allowances and reliefs
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Corporation tax basics: What you need to know

Corporation Tax refers to tax you pay on money your company or association makes from trading profits, investments and chargeable gains.

It is calculated and paid on an annual basis, based on your ‘accounting period' for corporation tax. This is typically the same as your company's financial year. Limited companies, foreign companies with a UK branch or office, clubs, co-operatives and unincorporated associations are required to pay corporation tax on profits.

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When is corporation tax due?

Keep in mind that unlike most taxes, the deadline for paying your corporation tax bill is earlier than the deadline for your tax return.

Your corporation tax bill is nine months and one day following the end of your accounting period. If the end of your accounting period falls on 31 March 2019, you'll need to make your payment by 1 January 2020. The payment is made once a year if your profits fall below £1.5 million. Payment is made in instalments for businesses with profits exceeding £1.5 million.


What is the current corporation tax rate?

The current rate is 19% for the 2019/20 tax year. For the tax year starting 1 April 2020, the rate will be reduced to 18%.

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When do I pay Corporation Tax?

Your corporation tax bill is due nine months and one day after the end of your accounting period. For example, if the end of your accounting period falls on 31st March, your corporation tax payment will be due on 1st January.

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When is corporation tax due?

Your corporation tax bill is due nine months and one day after the end of your accounting period. Do note that in the first year of setting up your company, your annual accounts will typically cover more than 12 months-and as such, you'll have two payment deadlines for your corporation tax.

Different payment rules and deadlines will apply if your taxable profits amount to more than £1.5 million.

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When must I pay my corporation tax?

Your corporation tax bill is due nine months and one day after the end of your accounting period. Do note that in the first year of setting up your company, your annual accounts will typically cover more than 12 months-and as such, you'll have two payment deadlines for your corporation tax.

Different payment rules and deadlines will apply if your taxable profits amount to more than £1.5 million.

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Limited Company Expenses Guide