Since 1 April 2011, for any accounting period ending after 31 March 2010, Company Tax Returns must be filed online and you can no longer file accounts with HMRC using PDFs.

HMRC mandate that companies must file accounts and computations in a set format called 'Inline eXtensible Business Reporting Language' or iXBRL, now referred to as just XBRL. 

HMRC has created a template which allows you to 'convert' your own accounts into XBRL. The downside is that you have to physically enter all your figures again and will find it very hard to use if you have not already prepared accounts in the correct format.

Small companies will still also have the option of preparing abbreviated accounts for Companies House, however due to compatability problems it seems that those who wish to use Companies House template will have to enter those up separately, or use commercial software to do so.

Unincorporated organisations and charities that don't need to prepare accounts under the Companies Act can choose to send their accounts in XBRL or PDF format. Any computations must be sent in XBRL format.


HMRC's guidance on online filing and electronic payment (including iXBRL) can be found here.


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