Annual returns - new resources from the Charity Commission

All registered charities with an income of more than £10,000 and all Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs) have to submit an annual return to the Charity Commission.

If your income is under £10,000 (excluding CIOs) you do not need to submit an annual return form but must keep charity details up to date and submit annual income and expenditure figures.

If you income is over £25,000 you also need to submit your account and trustees report. The charity commission have recently released new resources to help you with this – see below for more details

Why do we have to submit an annual return?

It’s an important part of being a registered charity that provides transparency and legitimacy for your charity. It keeps the online public register of charities up to date and helps the Charity Commission identify risk and monitor the sector – ensuring they can provide relevant resources and guidance.

When do we need to submit an annual return?

Within 10 months of the end of your financial year. Not doing so will result in an overdue note going on the public register of charities.

How do we complete the annual return?

It can all be done online and there is lots of guidance to help you. We have provided links to resources below as well as some brief guidance notes:

What you need to complete the return:

  • registered charity number (and company number if applicable)
  • charity’s bank or building society details
  • trustees’ details - names, dates of birth and contact details
  • details of the main contact at the charity
  • number of volunteers and employees at the charity

Financial information: 

  • start and end dates of the financial period you’re reporting
  • total income and spending for the period (in pounds)
  • the amount spent outside England and Wales

Information on your charity’s aims and activities

  • a description of your charity’s activities in the reporting period (around 100 words)
  • information about what your charity does
  • locations where your charity worked in the period

Charities with an income over £25,000

You’ll need digital copies (PDF format) of your:

  • charity’s accounts, agreed by the trustees
  • independent examiner or auditor’s report
  • trustees’ annual report

The Charity Commission have recently released some new template forms to help with the above

You must also list any serious incidents that took place in the year, even if you have already reported them to the Charity Commission.