Filing Annual Returns in the UK: A Quick Guide
Whenever you register your company in the UK, you are required to submit your company's Annual Return to Companies House annually.
When you form a company in the UK, you are obligated to file an Annual Return (AR) with the Companies House every year.
Here’s what you need to know about submitting an Annual Return.
What is an Annual Return?
The Annual Return is one that provides an overview of your company’s general information, such as details of your directors and company secretary if you have one appointed, your registered office, contact details, the nature of your business, share capital and shareholdings.
What Should I Include in the Annual Return?
You will have to include the following information in your annual report:
- Company’s contact details inclusive of the registered address and the ‘single alternative inspection location’ (SAIL) address, where records are stored if they are not at the registered company address
- Information about your company directors and company secretary (if you have one appointed) inclusive of their name, date of birth and nationality
- Your company’s key business activities, which should be chosen from a list of standard industrial classification (SIC) codes to describe what your company does
- The type of company you own (eg private or public), details about the company-issued shares and in some situations information of your shareholders
How to Submit an Annual Return Online?
The easiest and most convenient option to file your annual return is to submit it online through the Companies House WebFiling service, which costs £13 and can be paid via credit card or PayPal.
Note that you will have to register with Companies House WebFiling service before you can start using the service. Factor in lots of time for delivery, as Companies House will mail an authentication code to your registered company address to complete the registration process.
If you prefer the traditional way of mailing through postal service, you can also do so. Simply download the annual return form (AR01), enclose it with a cheque and mail it to Companies House. This method costs £40, and remember to provide your company number at the back of the cheque if you issue one.
When is the Annual Return Filing Date?
When your annual return is due, you will receive an email alert or reminder letter to your registered company address from Companies House. Typically, the due date for your annual return is a year after the date of your company incorporation, or a year from the date of your last filed annual return. Your annual return must be filed no later than 28 days after the deadline.
Elizabeth has successfully incorporated her events management company Loud Entertainment in the United Kingdom on 20 March 2020. As such, she has to file her annual return no later than 20 March 2021 to stay compliant.
What are the Penalties for Late submission or Non-filing of Annual Return?
You may get a fine of up to £5,000 and/or prosecution proceedings against your company and its directors. In worst-case scenarios, your company could even be struck off.
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