What is An Annual Return? A Comprehensive Guide

What is an annual return

What is an annual return? This refers to a statement of the company’s information submitted each year to the Companies House. However, it has been replaced with the Confirmation Statement with minute changes, Annual Returns and Confirmation Statement can be used interchangeably. Annual return is legally binding upon the company’s directors and secretaries to provide detailed information on the company. This is the reason, the AR01 form has been replaced with a more convenient and selective method or form of the confirmation statement.

Let’s discuss in more detail what is annual returns and the latest version of the Confirmation Statement introduced in 2016! Moreover, we will talk about what details are part of the annual returns and when and how to submit these returns without facing any penalty. So, let’s start our discussion!


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What is An Annual Return?

An Annual Return is submitted by a limited company every year after registering with the Companies House. A self-employed or contractor is not legally obliged to submit these returns. These annual returns are submitted each year.

Annual returns consist of the basic details of a company. For example, company name, address, contact details, shareholders’ information, shares and directors. However, these annual returns were replaced by the Confirmation statement in 2016.


What is the Confirmation Statement?

This refers to the extension or simpler form of the annual returns. Making the submission process more efficient and straightforward, the annual returns have made the process easier for the companies.

Instead of adding each detail every time every year, companies are required to add only the changes in the details. For example, the companies were supposed to add details in the annual returns, even if there were no changes in the details, making it boring for the organisations.

However, the companies are obliged to add only the modifications or alterations in the details. For example, if the shareholders and directors have changed, you just add this change in the confirmation statement.


How to Submit Annual Returns or Confirmation Statement?

Annual Returns were used to submit using an AR01 form available at the Companies House. However, the organisations have to submit the CS01 form. Using the Companies House WebFiling system, the CS01 form costs £13 and you can get e-reminders for the deadlines.

On the other hand, you will be charged a fee of £40 if you submit the CS01 form in print. The forms are available separately to make changes in the details of a company.

  • Add Changes to Your Standard industrial classification (SIC) Code
  • Add Changes to Your statement of capital
  • Add Changes to Your Shareholder Information
  • Add Changes to Your trading status of shares and exemption from keeping people with significant control (PSC) register.

So, making different changes requires the use of a different form of Confirmation Statement. This form is acceptable for companies having a confirmation date of 30 June or after this.


When are Annual Returns Submitted using the Confirmation Statement Form?

There is no specific date prescribed by the Companies House as it is done in the tax returns and other accounts returns. However, you are obliged to submit the Confirmation Statement exactly after one year of the registration of the limited companies with the Companies House or the after one year of the last annual returns made.

The form can be submitted after 14 days of the due or review period every year. If you fail to file your annual returns, you will pay a penalty fee or your company could be struck off by the Companies House. The AR01 required the companies to not delay the annual returns later than 28 days after the due date previously.


What Details are added to the Annual Returns?

The annual returns consist of the following details that need to be submitted every year. However, the changes in the details are provided using the Confirmation Statement Forms.

  • Company secretary details (if applicable)
  • Directors and their details (residential addresses also)
  • List of shareholders and their share ownership
  • Persons with Significant Control of information
  • Share capital details
  • Share transfers details in the confirmation period
  • The company’s registered office address
  • The location of any Single Alternative Inspection Location (SAIL)
  • Trade classification codes (known as SIC codes)
  • Where each statutory register is kept (in case, the company is using a SAIL)
  • Whether any of the company’s shares are admitted to a public trading market

The above or more or less similar to the Annual Returns. The above details are maintained and updated regularly by the Companies House.


The Bottom Line

Finally, annual returns are the details of a company, directors and shareholders. After getting registered with the Companies House, the company is obliged to submit these details to the Companies House every year to keep an accurate record of the up-to-date information of the registered company.

These details are added using the AR01 form of annual returns. However, the changes are submitted using the CS01 form after the 2016 regulation. If you submit the form online, you are charged a minimal fee of £13. Otherwise, you have to pay a fee of £40 for mailing the form using the post office.

You don’t have to pay the VAT with the form fee and only limited companies, not self-employed and contractors, are required to submit these details. Now, you should not worry about what is an annual return and do your business need it.


Annual Returns can be a headache for many businesses, AccountingFirms may help you with the legal guidance on this. Contact us or send us an Email.


Disclaimer: All the information provided in this article on What is an Annual Return, including all the texts and graphics is general in nature. It does not intend to disregard any of the professional advice.