FOR MANY BUSINESSES, COVID-19 has caused a massive shock and presented previously healthy companies with a terrible set of challenges. With no income and losses mounting, managing cash flow to stay afloat is vital.
One way to boost cashflow is to tap into tax previously paid by a business. There is a little-known way in which businesses can claim tax back from HMRC even before the losses have been realised. Known as a “provisional loss carry-back claim”, businesses that were previously profitable but are now potentially loss-making, can apply for this to get cash back. This could significantly help cashflow and may even help the business survive.
In today’s Shipleys Tax brief, we look at this valuable mechanism and how it works.
What is a provisional loss carry-back claim?
A “provisional loss carry-back claim” is a claim by which a business, in exceptional circumstances and set to make a loss, can reclaim tax back for corporation tax paid to HMRC on profits made in a previous accounting year. COVID-19 qualifies as such an exceptional circumstance.
HMRC has updated its company tax guidelines detailing how businesses who wish to make claims for repayments of corporation tax based on anticipated losses can make the claim.
How do you qualify?
Any submission to HMRC requesting an early claim to carry back of losses will need to show
- there is sufficient evidence that losses will be incurred; and
- that it will be included in the company tax return for the loss making year when it is eventually submitted.
In the current climate this should not be too difficult to do. For example, the business will need to show evidence of the following for the current period:
- Significant losses – that would exceed other income
- Management accounts showing losses
- Accurate forecasts
- Board minutes where financial performance was noted
- Consideration of whether performance could improve over the remainder of the accounting period
Providing an acceptable form of evidence is therefore critical to the timely success of a repayment and liaising with your professional adviser is crucial.
What are the next steps?
Businesses would need to look to prepare and finalise their accounts to quantify any losses that could be claimed by the company. It is possible, together with the aforementioned supporting evidence, to agree a provisional loss carry-back claim with HMRC, potentially enabling a business to claim anticipated losses immediately rather than having to wait for years thereby boosting cashflow now when its most needed.
If you require any assistance compiling and submitting an early loss carry back claim to HMRC in order to try and aide cash flow, please contact us 0114 272 4984 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be delighted to help you with your claim.