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What is an Annual Return

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Every UK limited company has to complete and file an Annual Return with Companies House.

The return contains a snapshot of certain company information at a certain point in the year.  Importantly the Annual Return is a separate document to the annual accounts and should not be confused with this.

Why is it important?

 to keep the information about the company on the official register up to date.

  • it makes searching for information at Companies House much easier.
  • shareholders are only registered annually so it makes it easier to capture the data.

What does it contain?

The Annual Return will contain information about the legal status of the company and will consist of the company directors either confirming the details already listed, or adding new details about any changes to the company.

Commonly, the Annual Return will contain details of the following:

  • Name of the company
  • Registered office address
  • Return date (date of the "made up to" date)
  • Principle activities of the company e.g SIC code
  • Type of company e.g. private or public
  • Details of all directors and company secretaries (though the latter are not required now)
  • Details of the share capital of the company e.g. authorised and issued share details
  • Details of all shareholders

The Annual Return is usually due on the anniversary of the company's incorporation and then annual thereafter on or around the same date.

What are SIC codes?

SIC stands for standard industry classification and is used to identify the nature of the trade operated by the company.  A company can have just one, or many SIC codes depending on whether they have multiple trades.  These SIC codes contain 5 digits.

How do you file it and much does it cost?

The Annual Return is filed electronically or via a paper form.  The filing of the form electronically will cost the company £14.  If the form is filed via paper the cost will be £40.

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