If you are a charity registered with the Charity Commission then each year, depending on your income and/or the type of charity you are, you will be required to file your Annual Return. Depending on the level of your income and structure, you will also need to file the trustees’ annual report and accounts.

We have provided an introductory guide to help you prepare your Annual Return. If you require any further assistance then we would recommend that you speak to your usual contact at Anthony Collins Solicitors or your accountant.

Do I have to?

All Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs) and other charities with an income of more than £10,000 must file their Annual Return with the Charity Commission within 10 months of their financial year end date.

If your charity has an income of less than £10,000 and is not a CIO then you must keep your charity’s details on the Charities Register up to date e.g. changes in trustees. The Charity Commission recommends that you do this by filing an Annual Return.

Remember – if you omit to file your Annual Return (and such other regulatory documents) on time then the charity’s entry on the Register of Charities will be marked overdue and even when filed, the entry will show that the Annual Return was filed late. Continued failure to file the Annual Return (and if relevant, your accounts and trustees’ report) will result in the Charity Commission opening an inquiry into the charity which will be published on its website.

What information do I need?

You will need a copy of your accounts for its completed financial year end and your charity’s Charity Commission online services password.

You will provide:

  • a brief description of the charitable activities and the areas in which the charity has worked;
  • details of any new trustees which you have not recorded previously at the Charity Commission. Such details will include dates of birth and residential addresses. You will also remove any trustees who have ceased to act as trustees – provided that the removals/resignations have been dealt with properly;
  • provide details of the main contact for the charity (unless these are still correct);
  • the number of volunteers and employees of the charity;
  • the bank or building society account details for the charity;
  • the start and end date of the financial year which you are reporting e.g. a charity’s financial year may start on 1 January 2016 and end on 31 December 2017;
  • income and spending for the financial period;
  • any spending outside of England and Wales;
  • if your charity is a CIO or has an income over £25,000, a PDF copy of the accounts including the independent examiner or auditor’s report to the accounts;
  • if your charity is a CIO or has an income over £25,000, a PDF copy of the trustees’ annual report;
  • if your charity has an income of at least £25,000, provide details of any serious incidents that may or may not have been reported in the last year; and
  • if your charity has an income over £500,000 then further information will need to be given as regards the charity’s financial information but this can be taken from the accounts.

We are a charitable company – is there anything else we should know?

If you are a charitable company then you may also find our briefing about Confirmation Statements (previously known as Annual Returns) helpful. You may also need to file a return with HMRC.

Trustees’ responsibilities

We would also reiterate the Charity Commission’s message that trustees of a charity should not rely on accountants filing the charity’s Annual Return and such other documents with the Charity Commission. It is the trustees’ responsibility to ensure that any advisors have completed the charity’s annual requirements within the deadline.

For more information

For more help and advice on completing Annual Returns for the Charity Commission please contact Phil Watts.

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