Charities: What Needs to be Submitted and When

Charity Fundraising

31 January is a popular date for many charities as this is the deadline when their accounts and audits must be submitted by. Yet, the Charity Commission have made it known that many charities incorrectly file their accounts or wrongly submit their annual returns. In order for charities and not-for-profits to regain full trust of the public and to be seen as reputable again, ensuring that your accounts are submitted correctly and on time should be a priority. Therefore, I thought now would be a better time than ever to revisit what needs to be submitted and when.

The Charity Commission’s recent press release stated that over 3,000 charities with an annual income over £250,000 were outstanding to file their accounts or annual return. In addition, the Commission announced that over 94% of small charities had incorrectly filed their accounts and last year, just shy of a third of charities had filed their accounts to an unacceptable quality.

What do you need to submit?
All charities will have 10 months from their financial year end date to submit their accounts. Therefore, if your financial year-end falls on 31 March, your accounts will need to be submitted by 31 January of the following year. However, what you submit will depend on the size of your charity:

  • Income under £10,000: you do not need to file a set of accounts or an annual return; however, you will need to provide the Charity Commission with proof of your annual income and expenditure. The easiest way that this can be done is via an annual return form.
  • Income between £10,001 and £25,000: if your charity meets this criterion, you will need to file an annual return.­
  • Income over £25,001: you will need to submit an annual return and annual accounts. An independent examiners report, audit report and a Trustee’s Annual Report must also be submitted alongside the accounts and return

It is important to be aware that charities that are set up as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) will always need to submit a set of accounts to the Charity Commission. Furthermore, the commission are in their right to request any charity of any size to submit a set of accounts or an audit if need be.

What if I do not submit on time?
Charities could face a statutory inquiry into their organisation for failing to submit on time. This means the commission will have the right to investigate any concerns and misconduct in your organisation and also have the right to access all of your financial records. Failure to submit after an enquiry, can lead to a second enquiry, being publicly named, large fines and/or the closure of the charity.

Submitting your accounts on time should always be a priority. Raffingers offer charity and not-for-profit specialist advice. To discuss your personal case further, please feel free to contact me directly at