Charity Commission launches online annual return form

From now on, charities will be able to submit digital files directly

< This article has been amended; see final sentence

The Charity Commission has launched its new online annual return form, which will allow charities to submit accounts digitally.

All registered charities with incomes of more than £10,000 and all charitable incorporated organisations must file their annual returns within 10 months of the end of their financial years.

The new form means charities will be able to submit the digital files directly.

The process, which according to a commission statement should take only a few minutes to complete, will also be in both English and Welsh for the first time.

The new annual return form will not ask for details about a charity’s trustees, contact addresses and emails because these have been separated into another form, allowing users to view and amend them at any time.

A beta version of the new annual returns service has been tested by a small group of charities over the past few months.

A commission statement advised charities to read the regulator’s online guidance to the new system on before beginning the submission process to find out what information they will require.

David Holdsworth, chief operating officer at the Charity Commission, said: "We have worked closely with the sector to ensure we are providing easy-to-use services that help trustees comply with their filing duties.

"Although charities have 10 months from the end of their financial years to complete their annual returns, we urge them not to wait until then.

"We also encourage them to take a minute to make sure their information is up to date, and to use the built-in customer feedback to tell us what they think."

He said a failure to file accounts on time could result in the commission taking regulatory action.

< This story originally said that the digital filing of returns would replace submitting forms by PDF, but charities will still need to supply PDFs.

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