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Filing your annual return with Companies House

Every registered company must submit an annual return to Companies House each year. Here’s all you need to know about what, how and when you need to file.

What is an annual return?

You annual return provides basic information about your company such as:

  • your registered office
  • directors
  • shareholders 
  • contact details
  • and the nature of your business.

Don’t confuse the annual return with your company’s annual accounts and tax return – they’re completely separate and won’t usually be filed at the same time.

What information do I need to provide in my annual return?

Your annual return must include:

  1. Contact details including your company’s registered address and the ‘single alternative inspection location’ (SAIL) – the address where records are kept if not at the registered address
  2. Information about the directors and company secretary (if your company has one) including name, date of birth and nationality
  3. Your company’s principal business activities – you’ll need to choose at least one activity from a list of standard industrial classification (SIC) codes to explain what your business does
  4. The type of company (eg private or public), information about the shares issued by the company and in some cases details of your shareholders.

How do I submit an annual return?

The cheapest and quickest way to submit your annual return is to file it online using the Companies House WebFiling service. Filing online costs £13 and payment can be made by credit card or PayPal.

You’ll need to register with Companies House for WebFiling before you use this service. To complete your registration they will post an authentication code for your company to the company’s registered office address, so you’ll need to allow plenty of time for delivery. 

You can also file your return by post, but this costs £40. To do this, you’ll need to download an annual return form (AR01) and send this to Companies House with a cheque. If you do submit a cheque remember to write your company number on the back.

4:55

Video: Submitting your annual return online

by Companies House

Companies House has produced this short video to demonstrate how to file your annual return online.

When do I need to submit an annual return?

Companies House will send an email alert or reminder letter to your company’s registered address when your annual return is due. 

The due date is usually one year after either the incorporation of your company or one year after the date you filed your last annual return. You must file your annual return no more than 28 days after the due date.

If you fail to submit your annual return, you can be fined up to £5,000 and your company can be struck off.

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