Charities 2018 Annual Return: Forewarned is forearmed!

Here’s what you need to know before filing your charity’s 2018 annual return and accounts (there are 20 new questions!):

Of course you never leave this until the last minute! But when you go to file the 2018 accounts just before the 31/1/2019 deadline (for those with a 31 March 2018 year end) – being prepared to answer the questions (and therefore collating the relevant information) on the annual return will help you with this annual process.

The Charities Commission used to just ask you simple questions where the data could be extracted directly from the year end accounts (which were just in front of you as you completed the annual return). However, these days you need to have other data available to be able to complete the annual return.

The link below gives full detail of the changes and the new information that you will be required to obtained before filling in the annual return. Some of the data you will need includes;

  • Other than grant agreements, does the charity receive income from contracts with central government or a local authority – if yes then you need to know; how many contracts; and, the value of that income.
  • If your charity received grants from central government or a local authority, again you need to know; how many grants there were; and, the total value of that income.
  • Similarly, if your charity received income from outside the UK you need to know how much; and, if the money came from non-UK governments, charities, donors or institutional donors.

In total there are 41 questions, of which there are 20 new questions and 6 amended questions – which is a big increase from the 17 questions asked last year in 2017!

So please don’t leave the filing of the accounts and completion of the annual return until the last minute. It will also be worthwhile compiling the additional information (which cannot be extracted from the accounts) during or at the end of the year so that it is to hand when you do go to file.

Good luck and please ask if you have any queries.

Contact me at or 0191 226 8319 (DD)

For further details of the complete changes see the Charities Commission website.