Getting it right: top tips for a stress-free annual return

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17 January, 2018
Charities with an income of £10,000 or over* must submit an annual return to the Charity Commission within 10 months of the end of the organisation’s financial year. Ideally you should begin the process of pulling the information together as soon as you approve your latest accounts and the trustees’ annual report is finalised.
The Charity Commission has updated its guidelines with tips to help minimise the stress of filling out your annual return. These include:
  • A list of what you need to include in your annual return
  • The system you need to use, depending on when your financial year ended, and;
  • The forms you need to use, depending on the size and type of organisation
Why is it so important to get things right?
Not only is your annual return a legal requirement, but some of the information you submit is publically available via the Charity Commission’s online charity register. This means potential donors, funders, volunteers and beneficiaries can find out about your charity. 
This includes information about:
  • How people can contact your charity
  • What it is set up to do
  • How it meets its aims
  • How much money it makes and spends
  • Where it operates
For more details, visit the Charity Commission’s website.
* Charities with an income of under £10,000 per annum do not need to submit an annual return, but they do need to keep their details (such as income, expenditure, trustees and contact details) up to date.
* Charitable incorporated organisations (CIOs) must complete an annual return even if their income is under £10,000.
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