All companies in the UK must submit an annual return form to Companies House each year – it provides a snapshot of general information about your company, including details of key personnel, the registered office, share capital and shareholdings. From 1st October 2009, new Form AR01 replaced the old Form 363a.
All limited companies submit Form AR01 once per year (the filing date is typically the anniversary of the company’s date of incorporation).
You are legally obliged to file an annual return as a limited company director, and will face penalties if you fail to do so, or file your return beyond 28 days of the company’s ‘made up date’. In fact, it is a criminal offence to fail to deliver your annual return on time.
How to file your Annual Return
Each year, Companies House will write to your registered address informing you of the need to submit your annual return. You can ask for a paper return, or you can file online.
Understandably, Companies House is keen to promote online filing in general, which is reflected in the fee structure – a paper return will cost £30 to submit, compared to £15 for the online return.
You can read more about the online ‘WebFiling’ service, or download a paper Form AR01 from Companies House here.
What is included on an Annual Return form?
The following information is captured on an Annual Return form:
- Company Name
- Company registration number
- Company type (private, public, etc.)
- Company registered address
- Principal business activities
- Company Secretary details (if you have one)
- Company director details
- The ‘made-up date’ (the date to which the return is made up)
- Details on the issued share capital
- Shareholder details
You can read more details on what’s included, and how to complete an annual return form at Companies House.