Guidance

Prepare a charity annual return

You must send an annual return or tell us your income and spending every year if your charity is registered in England or Wales.

Check your charity’s details are up-to-date before you start your annual return.

Find out what details you need to check.

Log in to submit your annual return

Before you start:

  1. Get your charity number and password and check you can log in. Find out how to get a new password if you need one.
  2. Check what you need to submit and the questions you will need to answer.
  3. Have PDF copies of your accounts, trustee annual report and independent examiner’s report ready, if you need to submit them.

Log in to submit your annual return online.

When to submit your annual return

You must submit your annual return within 10 months of the end of your financial year.

For example, if your financial year end was 30 April 2019, your deadline is 29 February 2020.

What charitable companies and unincorporated organisations need to submit

Income under £10,000

You only need to report your income and spending.

Log in to report your income and spending. Select ‘Annual return’ from your available services.

Income between £10,000 and £25,000

You must answer questions about your charity in an annual return.

You do not need to include any other documents.

Income over £25,000

You must answer questions about your charity in an annual return.

You will need to get your accounts checked and provide PDF copies of your:

  • trustee annual report
  • accounts
  • independent examiner’s report

You also need a full audit if you have:

  • income over £1 million
  • gross assets over £3.26 million and income over £250,000

Prepare your annual report and accounts first. You can then upload them when you complete your annual return.

What type of accounts you need to prepare depends on the type of charity and its finances.

What charitable incorporated organisations (CIOs) need to submit

You must answer questions about your charity in an annual return and include PDF copies of your:

  • trustee annual report
  • accounts

If your income is over £25,000 you also need to:

You also need a full audit if you have:

  • income over £1 million
  • gross assets over £3.26 million and income over £250,000

Prepare and agree your annual report and accounts first. You can then upload them when you complete your annual return.

What type of accounts you need to prepare depends on your charity’s finances.

Questions in an annual return

The questions you will be asked depend on your income, the type of charity and what the charity does.

You may be asked about:

  • financial information, like income and spending
  • income or contracts from central government or local authorities
  • income from or work done outside the UK
  • trading subsidiaries
  • trustee payments
  • staff salary bands and benefits

There are some new questions for 2018 and 2019. Check the questions in the annual return before you start.

View all questions in the 2018 and 2019 annual return service

This file is in an OpenDocument format

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email usability@charitycommission.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Report serious incidents

If your income is over £25,000, you will need to declare that there are no serious incidents that you have not reported to us.

Report serious incidents before you submit your annual return.

Annual return for 2014-15

This form is for annual returns for financial years ending in 2014 or 2015. Complete the form and send it to the email address in the form.

Annual return for financial years ending 2014 and 2015 (PDF, 522KB, 16 pages)

Privacy notice

Read the annual return privacy notice before you use the service.

Your password gives people in your charity access to detailed information about your charity and individuals connected with it. When giving access to this password, have measures in place to make sure that:

  • the system is only used for proper purposes
  • information accessed through the Commission’s services will be treated carefully and sensitively, in accordance with the law, including the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
Published 23 May 2013
Last updated 11 September 2019 + show all updates
  1. We have added a link to new guidance on using the 'update charity details' service for the first time. This page has also been rewritten to make it shorter and easier to use.

  2. The 2019 charity annual return service is now available. We have also updated the document that lists all questions in the 2018 and 2019 annual return service.

  3. Unincorporated organisations and charitable companies with incomes between £0 to £10,000 need to submit their income and expenditure figures through the annual return service. All charities need to check and update their details before submitting the annual return.

  4. Minor amendment to the new questions for 2018 document (line 34 and 37). All charities also need to check and update their details before submitting the annual return.

  5. The deadline for submitting the 2017 annual return is the 31 October. Also added information about changes to updating your charity details and all new questions for the 2018 annual return.

  6. Added the annual return deadline for 2017 and updated links to the new questions for the 2018 return.

  7. Added translation

  8. The 2018 annual return service is now available.

  9. Updated the link to accounting essentials for charities. This is for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 November 2016.

  10. You can now submit your 2017 annual return. You will need to submit your annual return for 2016 before you can do the return for 2017.

  11. Added a link to Charity reporting and accounting (CC15c) and quick summary tables showing what you need to submit.

  12. Added Welsh translation.

  13. The annual return service for 2017 is now available. You will need to submit your annual return for 2016 before you can do the return for 2017.

  14. First published.