News story: Are you on top of your charity’s annual report and accounts submission?

The Charity Commission is today reminding all charities, specifically those with a financial year ending 31 March, to file their annual return or accounts.

On Friday 13 January, 3,584 charities with a last reported income over £250,000 and a financial year ending 31 March 2016 hadn’t filed their accounts or annual return. These charities have less than 2 weeks before the 31 January deadline.

Trustees are legally obliged to submit these documents. Failing to file, or filing late, can affect your charity’s reputation and jeopardise public trust in charities. The commission takes failure to file very seriously and will take action where necessary.

Once a charity has submitted its documents to us via our online services, they are published on our register of charities. Your charity’s profile will be updated overnight and your accounts and income and expenditure figures will be available for all members of the public to view.

Know what you need to submit and when

You have 10 months from the end of your charity’s financial year to do this and what you need to submit depends on your annual income.

If your charity’s income is:

  • under £10,000, then you just need to provide us with your charity’s income and expenditure figures – the easiest way to do this is via the annual return
  • between £10,001 and £25,000, you need to complete an annual return form
  • more than £25,001, you must submit an annual return form along with a set of annual accounts as well as an independent examiners’ or audit report and a trustees’ annual report (TAR).

Please note that all CIOs need to submit an annual return and annual accounts. If your CIO has an income over £25,000 you also need to submit an independent examiners’ or audit report along with a Trustees’ Annual Report.

Top tips to keep on track with your accounting and reporting requirements

  1. Don’t wait until you approach the deadline – submit your documents as soon as you can
  2. Remember submitting this information is the collective responsibility of the entire trustee body, not just the treasurer or secretary
  3. Ensure all trustees know the password to access the annual return and other online services
  4. Make sure your charity’s trustee details are up-to-date before you complete the annual return
  5. Record your income and expenditure figures in whole pounds without decimal points or rounding them into thousands
  6. Make sure you don’t mistakenly tick the box that says your accounts are ‘qualified’ – accounts are marked ‘qualified’ when the independent examiner or auditor has doubts about some aspects of the accounts; it doesn’t mean that your accounts have been verified by an independent examiner.
  7. Ensure the trustees declare any serious incidents in the annual return.

If you have all the information you need, completing your annual return online is straightforward and not time-consuming. However, high demand in the lead up to peak filing times can cause delays to the system; to avoid experiencing this, submit your documents as soon as possible.

If you are experiencing problems completing your annual return form, you can speak to one of our technical advisers on 0300 066 9197. Our helpline is open from 9am to midday Monday to Friday.

Alternatively, you can request a callback via our website.

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