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Despite what you may think, a dormant company isn’t simply a closed company. There are rules to owning a dormant company, which you must meet if you wish your company to be classified as dormant.

So, what is a dormant company, and what reasons are there for becoming dormant? We delve into this and other frequently asked questions below.

What is a dormant company?

There are two definitions of ‘dormant’ according to HMRC; one for Corporation Tax and one for Companies House.

A dormant company for Corporation Tax is one which is:

A dormant company for Companies House is a company which is registered with Companies House, but which has had ‘no significant accounting transactions’ during its financial year. A ‘significant accounting transaction’ may be defined by any transaction which should be entered in a company’s accounting records.

For a company to be dormant for Companies House, its transactions must be limited to:

There are certain exceptions to these such as some financial companies who must file their full accounts regardless of their company status.


accountants for limited companies

Why become dormant?

There a many reasons a company may become dormant either for Corporation Tax or for Companies House. This might include:

One of the main benefits is that whichever description a dormant company falls under, you will have fewer filing responsibilities, reducing the statutory burden on your company.

A dormant company is also exempt from paying Corporation Tax, as long as it’s dormant according to the description above. However, you must pay any outstanding tax liabilities before you can become dormant.

Filing requirements

A company might always be dormant from the moment it’s set up, or it may become dormant later. Either way, it is important to continue managing it in the correct way.

Each dormant company must still meet certain filing requirements.

As a dormant company you will still need to file annual accounts and a confirmation statement to Companies House. You must do this whether your company is dormant for Corporation Tax or for Companies House.

Making an active company dormant

To make an active company dormant, you must inform HMRC that your company is dormant as soon as possible. To inform HMRC, you can send a letter or contact them by phone. You must do so within three months of your company becoming dormant. You won’t need to inform Companies House that your company is dormant until you need to file your annual accounts.

If your company had employees, you will be required to pay any remaining wages and close your existing PAYE scheme.

You must also deregister for VAT within 30 days of becoming dormant. If the company is only to be dormant temporarily, and you plan to begin trading again in the future, continue sending empty VAT returns while your company is dormant.

As dormant companies cannot spend or receive any money without becoming active for Corporation Tax, it is best to close business bank accounts to ensure no income is received.

Making a dormant company active

If you have a dormant company and wish to become active, you must inform HMRC within three months of the company becoming active. For companies which have been active in the past, this is as simple as signing into your HMRC account and changing the status of the company to ‘active’ for Corporation Tax.

If the company has never traded you will need to register for Corporation Tax.

You may also need to register for VAT if you expect your turnover to be over the VAT threshold.

You do not need to inform Companies House when your company becomes active again, as this will be clear when you submit your annual accounts.

Do you need more advice on managing your dormant company? Get in touch with the our friendly team on 020 3355 4047 to see how TAP can help

About The Author

Lee Murphy

MAAT and ICPA accountant, with a passion for making accountancy and bookkeeping accessible. Other interests include cloud-based software development for web and mobile access, keeping fit, reading, and entrepreneurship.

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