What you need to know about the new guidance on charity annual returns

Updated guidance on 2015 charity annual returns

All registered charities with an income of more than £10,000 and all Charitable Incorporated Organisations who are reporting on their financial years ending in 2015 must complete the online annual return form.

Completing you annual return is an important part of the requirements of being a 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 to help you run your charity.

There is lots of guidance available on completing you annual return which we recommend you read before you start the process. There are links to the guidance below as well as a link to submit your return. We have also summarised some of the key facts for you.

When to send your return: your return must be sent within 10 months of the end of your financial year - you cannot get an extension.

What you need:

  • 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

Extra information from 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

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