Charity annual return service open for 2020 accounts

The Charity Commission has released the 2020 charity annual return service to allow charities to start submitting annual accounts for 2019 year ends online

The annual returns are mandatory for registered charities in England and Wales and must be completed to report income and spending every year for all charities registered in England or Wales.

They have to be submitted with 10 months of the end of the charity’s financial year. For example, if the financial year end was 31 August 2019, the deadline would be 30 June 2020.

Charities with income over £25,000 need to complete annual report and accounts first, and then upload PDF copies of the trustee annual report, accounts and independent examiner’s report. A full audit is required for charities with income over £1m and gross assets over £3.26m.

Smaller charities with income up to £25,000 need to complete some questions on their annual return, but not a full set of accounts.

New disclosure requirements

There are a number of new mandatory disclosure requirements for annual returns this year, including reporting on the value of income by country.

The country data needs to specify the source and amount of income from overseas governments, quasi government bodies, the EU, overseas charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), as well as individual donors resident overseas and overseas institutional donors such as private company donations.

For individual donors and private institutions, there is a threshold of payments of over £25,000 or 80% of a charity’s income, which all need to be reported.

Annual return questions depend on the type of charity and its activities, but typically cover the following areas:

  • financial information, like income and spending;
  • income or contracts from central government or local authorities;
  • income from or work done outside the UK;
  • trading subsidiaries;
  • trustee payments; and
  • staff salary bands and benefits.


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