Charity Commission: Annual Return and Charity Details

This provides the Charity Commission with a health check of the Charity, covering areas such as fundraising and high earning employees. The Annual Return is submitted online by logging onto the charity’s account on the Charity Commission’s website and this must be done within 10 months of the charity’s financial year-end.

You will be prevented from submitting your charity’s Annual Return if the charity’s details recorded by the Charity Commission are incomplete. The Charity Commission has changed its requirements recently, so it is likely you will need to enter additional details.

Trustees have a legal obligation to keep the details on the charity register accurate and up to date.

Before submitting your Annual Return the charity’s details must be up to date. The Charity Commission requires the following:

  • Information about the activities the charity carries out, where those activities take place and who benefits from them
  •  Contact details for each trustee and a point of contact for the charity Commission and another for members of the public. The information includes an address, email and telephone number 
  • A list of policies the charity maintains (using a dropdown list) 
  • Details of any other regulators 
  • Your charity’s HMRC charity registration number 
  • All of the charity’s bank/building society accounts – sort code, account number and name of account

 The Annual Return

It is a good idea to start thinking about the Annual Return questions now. It is worth bearing in mind that the questions asked by the Charity Commission are those which it considers important, so these are key areas the trustees should keep under review. There are new questions this year (2019) – some are noted as optional, but they will be mandatory next year. All questions are applicable to CIOs and charities with incomes over £10k.

General Questions

As you might expet there are questions on: income and spending, number of serious incident reports, number of volunteers, reviewing financial controls. Some charities will be asked whether DBS checks are in place.


If the charity raises money from the public, it will be asked about any arrangements with professional fundraisers and what agreements are in place.

Income from Central and Local Government

The charity must disclose the number and value of any grants and contracts with Central and Local Government.

Income received from outside the UK

If the charity receives money from overseas the value and source of those funds (i.e. overseas institution or overseas donors) must be stated.

Operating and sending money overseas

There are questions relating to operating and spending money overseas. The Charity Commission will ask wich countries are benefitting, the value of the payments by counry adn what controls are in place to monitor overseas expenditure.

Trading subsidiaries

Whether the charity has a trading subsidiary and if any trustees are also directors.

Payments to trustees and employees

There are several questions on payments to trustees (including employement with the charity). For employees, the Charity Commission needs to know the highest paid employee and numbers of employees in different salary brackets starting from £60k.


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