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Preparing a charity annual return

The Charity Commission requires that charities registered in England or Wales must send an annual return to report their income and expenditure. The deadline for charities with a standard 12-month accounting period ending on 31 December 2021 is 31 October 2022.

Not filing on time means that the charity will go into default with the information being displayed to the public on the charity register. The annual return is separate from the charity’s annual accounts and the charity tax return sent to HMRC.

A full annual return is required if either:

  • the charity’s income is more than £10,000
  • the charity is a charitable incorporated organisation

If the charities income is over £25,000 then further documents including a trustee annual report, accounts and independent examiner’s report will also need to be submitted. A full audit is required if the charity has income over £1 million or gross assets over £3.26 million and income over £250,000.

There are different rules if the charity is registered in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

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