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Temporary change to the rules on carrying back trade losses was announced in Budget 2021. Unlocking such tax relief could be a considerable cash flow plus for businesses hit by the pandemic.

As you may be aware, the new rules extend the period over which losses can be carried back for relief against profits of earlier years. This becomes three years rather than the usual one year, and the measure applies to both incorporated and unincorporated businesses. For companies, this covers losses arising in accounting periods ending between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2022. For unincorporated businesses, it affects the tax years 2020/21 and 2021/22.

Updated HMRC guidance, published since the Budget, outlines the claims procedure for companies, and we will be pleased to steer you through the process.

For companies, general points to note are as follows:

  • claims for a loss can be made once the extent of the loss has been established
  • the claim must be for an amount that is quantified at the time the claim is made
  • this is usually done in the corporation tax (CT) return
  • claims that are more than the £200,000 de minimis limit will be made in the CT return. Details of the carry back claim will be included in the computations accompanying your accounts and CT return
  • we will not need to submit amended returns for earlier periods to which the relief applies: the claim will be treated as constituting an amendment, where relevant
  • claims up to the de minimis £200,000 limit can be made as a stand-alone exercise, outside the corporation tax cycle
  • claims to the extended loss relief must be made within two years of the end of the accounting period in which the loss being carried back arises.

Where a claim is below the £200,000 limit, this can be made via an online claims facility, where it is possible to supply relevant details immediately after the end of the accounting period in which the loss occurs. HMRC obviously requires supporting information: the claim must be appropriately quantified and substantiated by evidence such as draft accounts or management accounts to enable HMRC to verify the claim’s accuracy.

Now that the Finance Bill has received Royal Assent, HMRC will be starting to accept claims, both for companies and unincorporated businesses. We look forward to working with you to action such a claim where this is appropriate.

Please contact us to discuss what is needed to comply.

Information for readers: This material is published for the information of clients. It provides only an overview of the regulations in force at the date of publication, and no action should be taken without consulting the detailed legislation or seeking professional advice. Therefore no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the material can be accepted by the authors or the firm.