HMRC’s form-based CT600 software is nearing the closing moments of its life. The free software, used for filing CT returns, will remain available to accountants until 31 December 2016.
It is being replaced by HMRC’s new online service known as CATO (Company Accounts and Tax Online). However, this time around CATO won’t be available for accountants. It is meant to be used directly by businesses through their own filing credentials.
Thankfully, the introduction of CATO won’t affect small and medium-sized practices who have software from a chosen provider. However, for close to 300,000 accountants, that don’t own CT software, the challenge is to find an alternative solution. But before we dive into the list of sotware options, let us look at the selection factors.
What to consider?
Every accountant will have a different requirement; some might have more returns to file while some will have fewer. When choosing a software consider the following:
1. Software functionality
First things first, check if CT filing functionality is available on the accountancy software you currently use. It could easily be something you forgot to notice.
In case your software doesn’t have the functionality, review your current systems, and find out if you should bring other separate functions such as accounts, company administration and practice management under one umbrella software, which includes an integrated CT600 solution.
HMRC’s system was free to use, so it’s inevitable that you will have to incur new software costs. Consider the pricing model when looking. Find out what payment options are available; an annual subscription could be more beneficial if you have many returns to complete for example. But if you have a relatively low number of returns, then the Pay-as-you-go model might be more cost-effective. Find out what’s included in the price.
3. Technology - desktop or cloud based?
With digital technology revolutionising how we work, you should definitely consider the underlying technology. Would you prefer to file CT returns on your desktop, or do you want it available on the cloud for you/your clients to access it on the internet?
Both have their virtues, however, a cloud based solution, in our option, is more suitable.
4. Experience & support
Numerous CT filing software are available in the market. Therefore, look for the solution provider’s experience and track record in offering a CT solution. Find out things like how frequently their software is updated or how many accountants are already using it. With regards to support, find out:
- What are the support hours?
- Is support free or chargeable?
- Is training and online support also provided?
There are quite a few sophisticated options on the market. The following recommendations were made by accountants on various AccountingWeb threads:
How can QXAS help?
The reality is that the introduction of CATO means you can either invest in new software or outsource the work to someone who already has the software. QXAS is proficient in the use of IRIS, TaxCalc, Sage, CCH, Capium, Digita, CT Pro, and any other software of your choice. We’ve filed thousands of corporate tax returns on behalf of accountants since 2007 and will provide everything that HMRC’s free software did and more.
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