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Tapered Corporate Tax Rate in the UK for 2023: A Comprehensive Guide

Updated: Jun 24

Understanding the landscape of corporate tax in the UK is a crucial task for businesses aiming to navigate the financial year successfully. For 2023, the UK government has implemented significant changes to the corporate tax structure, introducing what is known as a tapered corporate tax rate. But what exactly does this mean, and how does it impact businesses? Let's delve into the details.

Tapered Corporate Tax Rate in the UK for 2023

Traditionally, the UK had a single Corporation Tax rate for non-ring fence profits, which was set at 19%. However, from 1 April 2023, the system has been modified to a more nuanced approach, with the implementation of a tapered tax rate system. The primary driving factor behind the tax you pay now lies in the profit your company makes​.

For companies earning profits of £50,000 or less, a small profits rate of 19% has been introduced. This is relatively unchanged from the previous tax rates and is intended to lessen the financial burden on smaller businesses. This lower tax rate for smaller profits is also meant to encourage entrepreneurship and stimulate economic activity by making it more viable for new businesses to flourish.

On the other end of the scale, for businesses with profits exceeding £250,000, the main tax rate is set at 25%. This is a significant increase compared to the previous uniform tax rate of 19%. This change reflects the government's attempt to generate more revenue from larger, more successful corporations, which are better able to absorb the higher tax rates​​.

The real novelty in the 2023 tax regime lies in the introduction of a tapered tax rate for companies with profits that fall between £50,000 and £250,000. These companies will pay tax at the main rate of 25%, but this will be reduced by a marginal relief. This relief provides a gradual increase in the effective Corporation Tax rate, offering a more equitable tax system that takes into consideration the varying profit levels of different businesses. This tiered approach is intended to prevent companies from facing a steep jump in tax liabilities once their profits cross the £50,000 threshold​​.

For companies that engage in oil extraction or oil rights in the UK or UK continental shelf, known as 'ring fence' companies, there are different tax rates and relief thresholds. Prior to 1 April 2023, these companies could claim Marginal Relief on profits between £300,000 and £1.5 million. However, from 1 April 2023 onwards, Marginal Relief is available for ring fence companies with profits between £50,000 and £250,000, in alignment with the changes to the broader corporate tax system​​.

To conclude, the tapered corporate tax rate system introduced in the UK for 2023 represents a significant shift in the country's approach to corporate taxation. It aims to provide a more balanced and equitable tax system, taking into account the varying sizes and profit levels of different businesses. As with any changes to tax legislation, businesses are advised to seek professional advice to fully understand the implications for their specific circumstances and to ensure compliance with the new rules.

Table 1: Marginal Rates

Profit Band (£)

Marginal Rate (%)

0 to 50,000


50,000 to 249,000


250,000 plus


Table 2: Example Calculation for Profits of £100,000

Profit Slice (£)

Rate (%)

Tax (£)










Table 3: Effective Corporation Tax Rate at Various Profit Levels

Profits (£)

Effective CT (%)













Navigating the Tapered Corporate Tax: The Role of a Tax Accountant

Which HMRC Forms Are Used to Submit Tapered Corporate Tax Returns in the UK for 2023

The HMRC forms used to submit a corporate tax return in the UK for 2023 include:

  • The main form is the Corporation Tax for Company Tax Return (CT600 (2023) Version 3)​1​.

  • There are also several supplementary pages of forms that may be relevant depending on the specifics of the company's situation. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Corporation Tax: close company loans and arrangements to confer benefits on participators (CT600A (2015) Version 3)

  • Corporation Tax: controlled foreign companies, foreign permanent establishment exemptions, hybrid, and other mismatches (CT600B (2022) version 3)

  • Corporation Tax: group and consortium relief (CT600C (2018) version 3)

  • Corporation Tax: insurance (CT600D (2015) version 3)

  • Corporation Tax: Charity and Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CT600E (2015) version 3)

  • Corporation Tax: Tonnage Tax (CT600F (2023) version 3)

  • Corporation Tax: cross-border royalties (CT600H (2015) Version 3)

  • Corporation Tax: supplementary charge in respect of ring fence trades (CT600I (2019) version 3)

  • Corporation Tax: disclosure of tax avoidance schemes (CT600J (2015) Version 3)

  • Corporation Tax: Restitution Tax (CT600K (2017) version 3)

  • Corporation Tax: research and development (CT600L (2022) version 3)

  • Corporation Tax: Freeports (CT600M (2022) version 3)​1​.

Please note that the specific forms you'll need to fill out will depend on the particular circumstances of the company. It's always best to consult with a tax professional when preparing and submitting corporate tax returns.

How New Tapered Corporate Tax Rates in the UK for 2023 Are Going To Affect Multiple Companies

The new tapered corporate tax rates in the UK, set to take effect from April 2023, are poised to bring about significant changes for multiple companies operating within the country. Historically, the UK has had a flat corporation tax rate of 19%, but this is set to change. The new tax structure introduces a main rate of 25% for companies with profits of £250,000 or more, while a small profits rate of 19% will apply to companies with profits of £50,000 or less. The main rate will taper between these two thresholds, introducing a more nuanced tax structure that will have varying impacts on different companies.

One of the key elements of the new tax structure is the Marginal Small Companies Relief (MSCR). This relief is designed to taper the effect of the increased rate for companies with profits between £50,000 and £250,000. The MSCR calculation involves a fraction of 3/200ths, which is applied to the difference between the upper limit of £250,000 and the company's profits. The result of this calculation is then deducted from the company's calculated tax liability.

The new tax structure also introduces different marginal rates depending on the profit band of the company. For profits between £50,000 and £249,000, the marginal rate is 26.5%, while for profits of £250,000 or more, the marginal rate is 25%. These marginal rates are not average rates, and the effective tax rate will vary depending on the company's profit level.

The new tax rates will also affect dividends, as these are paid from profits after corporation tax. More corporation tax means less profit to distribute, but the personal dividend tax on dividends will decrease. This could have implications for shareholders and the overall profitability of companies.

The new tax structure also introduces some complexities for multiple companies. The £50,000 and £250,000 thresholds are apportioned where there are associated companies, meaning the main rate cuts in at a lower level. This could lead to anomalies if profits are not equal across associated companies. Companies under common control will need to be cautious and try to match profits as equally as possible to avoid potential difficulties with the new corporation tax rates.

In conclusion, the new tapered corporate tax rates in the UK for 2023 are set to bring about a more nuanced tax structure that will have varying impacts on different companies. While the new structure could lead to increased tax liabilities for some companies, the introduction of the MSCR and changes to the taxation of dividends could also provide some relief. However, the complexities introduced for multiple companies could pose challenges, and companies will need to carefully consider their tax strategies in light of these changes.

Navigating the Tapered Corporate Tax: The Role of a Tax Accountant

The world of taxation is a complex labyrinth of laws, regulations, and ever-changing rates. With the introduction of the tapered corporate tax system in the UK in 2023, this complexity has only increased. In this changing landscape, the role of a tax accountant becomes even more crucial. But how exactly can a tax accountant assist you in handling the tapered corporate tax system? Let's explore.

A tax accountant's role can be described as a navigator in the stormy seas of taxation. They have a deep understanding of the tax laws and are equipped with the knowledge and experience to help your business stay compliant while optimizing tax liabilities.

The tapered corporate tax system, introduced in 2023, significantly changes the tax landscape in the UK. With a lower rate of 19% for companies with profits under £50,000, a higher rate of 25% for those with profits over £250,000, and a tapered rate for profits falling in between, the new system requires careful navigation.

This is where a tax accountant steps in. They can help you understand which tax bracket your business falls into and calculate your exact liabilities. For businesses in the middle bracket, the tax accountant can compute the marginal relief, ensuring that your business isn't paying more tax than it needs to. Additionally, they can help you project future profits and estimate future tax liabilities under the tapered system.

For ring fence companies involved in oil extraction or oil rights, the change in marginal relief thresholds from 1 April 2023 makes the role of a tax accountant even more critical. The accountant can assist in working out the new thresholds and optimizing the marginal relief claim to reduce the overall tax burden.

Furthermore, a tax accountant can help with strategic tax planning. In the new tapered tax system, the timing of revenue and expenses can significantly impact tax liabilities. A tax accountant can advise on when to realize income or make certain expenditures to stay in a lower tax bracket, thus optimizing the overall tax situation.

Tax accountants also play a pivotal role in ensuring compliance with the new tax laws. The introduction of a new tax system often comes with a plethora of regulations and forms. A tax accountant can keep track of these and ensure that your company is compliant, avoiding penalties or audits from the tax authorities.

But the role of a tax accountant isn't limited to just calculations and compliance. They can also help your business grow by advising on the tax implications of business decisions. For instance, if your company is considering expansion, a tax accountant can provide insights into how this could push you into a higher tax bracket and what that would mean for your bottom line.

Additionally, tax accountants can help you take advantage of any tax reliefs or deductions that you might not be aware of. For example, certain investments or expenses might qualify for tax relief, thus reducing your taxable income and overall tax liability. An experienced tax accountant can identify these opportunities and guide you in making the most of them.

Lastly, a tax accountant can provide peace of mind. Navigating the complexities of the tapered corporate tax system can be a stressful task, particularly for business owners who already have a myriad of other responsibilities. By outsourcing this task to a tax accountant, you can rest assured that your tax matters are in capable hands.

In conclusion, a tax accountant is a valuable ally in navigating the tapered corporate tax system. From calculating tax liabilities and ensuring compliance to strategic tax planning and identifying tax-saving opportunities, a tax accountant can help your business thrive in the changing tax landscape. As the saying goes, "In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." However, with a good tax accountant, at least the tax part can be made less daunting and more manageable.

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