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.

  • I'm not in UK, but I believe NZ law is similar. Can you confirm if these bills were to you, or to your company, and what exactly they were for ? If its the company, you can either wind up the company, or simply let it fall off the companies office for not filing a return for a few years. My guess that these charges are for default assessments because you failed to fill out returns/paperwork. The salient point, is YOU ARE NOT THE COMPANY - you are the director of the company. You are unlikely to be personally liable for the debt.
    – davidgo
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 1:15
  • £1300 is a fine for not filing your taxes. For a start, file your taxes. Say you have 0 income and 0 expenses and 0 whatever else, they will be fine with that - you'll be surprised how many companies don't trade. Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 23:30

2 Answers 2


The £1,300 demand is to get you moving to do something. You started a company. You are a company director. You get letters. You need to read the letters and do what you are asked to do. Go through the letters that you received, find a phone number, and call HMRC and talk to a living person there.

As long as they don't hear from you they assume and must assume that you are running a company that makes lots of money and doesn't pay its taxes. What else are they supposed to think? Call them, talk to them, and they will sort it out.

Here's an important thing: Whoever you talk to, they can be as helpful or as unhelpful as they want, so you must make them want to help you. Shouting and threatening will make them very unhelpful. Acting as the poor man who has no idea what he is doing will make them want to get you out of the system in the cheapest possible way.

BTW. You are saying they have done literally nothing for you in return of your £15 registration? They did a lot. They gave you an entry in the Company House database, protecting your name, and letting anyone find your business. They sent you reminder letters to do your taxes etc. and apparently more than one. They gave you the information that you need to open a business bank account, and so on.

  • I filled in their forms now (the process has changed so today I was finally able to). I'm sure they would have made sense to other people. I did my best. I hope they leave me alone for a while. If I was making money I wouldn't care. I just write computer code and try to make something of myself.
    – user7127
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 21:53
  • Amy, get on the phone and talk to someone in person. I'll change that: Amy, get on the bloody phone and talk to someone in person.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 13:42
  • Yeah, I tried that. The first guy I got through to sounded flustered and said he'd need to transfer me departments. Then I got transferred, started to explain the situation -- the phone beeped, then the line went dead. I was about to call back when I got an inexplicable feeling I should try online again. I did so and found there was a new process in place which enabled me to verify my identity with a passport, driver's license, debit card and a bunch of questions. I answered those and then it finally actually let me file my taxes, which I did as best I could. I'm waiting on a response now.
    – user7127
    Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 23:16

Your company is required to lodge an annual tax return. If it doesn't, it will be fined. These charges are the fines. Talk to your accountant.

  • I don't have an accountant. I have no money. I work part time in a factory, which barely covers my bills.
    – user7127
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 9:40
  • @DaleM is probably correct - but check carefully - you will probably find its THE COMPANY that owes the money not you. You might want to write a letter to the companies office telling them you are ceasing to be a director of the company and they can do with the company as they will. If its anything like New Zealand (and I asked the question as it happens) it will throw a cat among the pigeons and they won't like it - but I'm pretty sure you can't be forced to continue as a directorthat would be an act of slavery ! They will probably land up removing the company eventually.
    – davidgo
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 12:03
  • 1
    "I work part time in q factory" - no, you don't, you are a company director which carries serious legal obligations.
    – Dale M
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 2:30
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    @davidgo it doesn't make them evil - it does make them stupid - anyone who accepts a legal obligation without understanding what it means is stupid in my book.
    – Dale M
    Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 21:04
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    @davidgo you can call it naive if it makes you feel better. Naive is just stupid with a "sucker" sticker as well. Certainly in Australia you are taught in school not to sign something unless you fully understand it. That may not be "law" but it will keep you out of 99.9% of legal difficulties.
    – Dale M
    Commented Jul 3, 2016 at 21:30

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