An annual return is a document that all registered companies must provide which shows a snapshot of important (non-financial) information about the company’s internal structure.

All companies that are registered with Companies House are displayed on public record, and the purpose of the annual return is to confirm the relevant company details i.e company name, address and the details of directors, secretaries and shareholders.

If you are the director or the secretary of a registered company, it is your legal responsibility to make sure that the annual return is completed and filed appropriately.

Your annual return will include the following information:

  • Company Name
  • Registered Address (Head Office)
  • SAIL Address (This stands for ‘single alternative inspection location’ - if your records aren’t kept at your registered address, you’ll need to provide the details of the alternate location)
  • Details of company directors
  • Details of company secretary, if the company has one

If your company has shares you will also need to supply a ‘statement of capital’ which provides the details of the shares, as well as the details of any shareholders.

Your annual return - as the name suggests - must be filed with Companies House on a yearly basis.  One return every 12 months is the minimum you must adhere to - however you can return your information as many times as you like to during the year.  This is particularly useful to know if you need to make any changes to your company information that could affect the deadline.  Rather than delaying your return, you can file your most current information, and following any changes you can then file a new return which will update Companies House with the most accurate up-to-date information.

Regarding deadlines, your first return should reach Companies House within 28 days of the anniversary of your company being set up.  All subsequent returns should be filed with 28 days of the date that the last return was completed.

Annual returns can either be filed online or can be sent by post, however the former is the most cost effective option.  Filing your annual return online will cost £13 (which can be paid for using a credit/debit card or via PayPal).

If you prefer to post your annual return to Companies House this will cost you £40.  A cheque (with your company’s registration number written on the back) can be included in your package.

You can find further details about filing your annual return on the Companies House website.