I registered myself as a Ltd company a year ago with the UK government to ready myself for working freelance as a web developer. Since then I have been involved in other projects (mostly voluntary, some conventionally paid employment, on which I paid taxes) and have not done any freelance/company work whatsoever.

Now I'm getting bills from the UK government for ever escalating amounts (they are saying £1300 last letter I got) for not filing taxes for a company that has not traded at all in any meaningful sense of the word (have paid out for some artworks and server rental, but never actually charged for any services).

What can I do about this? I don't have £13 spare cash, let alone £1300. Is there anything I can do to stop the government charging me money I do not have for tax returns it would have made no sense to file and the forms for which I don't understand anyway?

I already paid them £15 to register the company with Companies House and they have done literally nothing for me in return, so I really don't see how they can be wanting £1300 as a result of my not trading whatsoever.

  • 2
    This really seems like a legal question, or at least one for an accountant, not other freelancers.
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 7:16
  • You can't say there is no sense in filing tax returns because you havn't made any money, how is HMRC meant to know that without you fillings in the forms that tell them? And not understanding the forms is no reason not to file, it a reason to get an accountant.
    – Cai
    Commented Jul 3, 2016 at 21:36
  • Seems like two straightforward questions ("do I have to file?" and "if so, how do I avoid paying fees if I didn't?"). And seems like an even more straightforward answer. But the profanity and obscenity in comments makes it more difficult to want to help. I wish the OP luck.
    – CWilson
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 17:23

1 Answer 1


I don't know the specifics of the UK, but at a high level I suspect it is similar to the US. Once you have formally registered your business entity, the government expects periodic reporting from you with respect to taxes.

You need to file even if you haven't done any business, just indicate in the filing that you have no revenue. In the US, there are fines for not filing, whether you have revenue or not. You may be in a similar situation. In the US, there is an expectation that you will do business within a couple years with net revenue, other wise they think you are just avoiding taxes and the entity isn't real.

  • As soon as I was able to file I did. You'd think being unable to file you'd be exempt. There needs to be a change in the law.
    – user12914
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 17:25
  • it is the same. Theres only a couple of forms a year and you can do it all online.
    – Ewan
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 21:00

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