I am just dropping you a quick line to highlight the fact that the Charity Commission website is not yet able to accept Annual Returns for your financial year ended on or after 1 January 2017.
To clarify, you will not be able to submit your 2017 annual return until August 2017.
This is frustrating from both your point of view and ours, as it is always good practice to complete all filing as soon as the accounts have been finalised. However, as the annual return does have a 10 month filing deadline we will, therefore, still have time to file after the system comes online and you will suffer no penalties.
The reason for the delay is that the Charity Commission launched a consultation on the 2017 Annual Return and had initially requested responses by 9 March 2017. However, the consultation was not actually launched until 20 December 2016 and therefore the response has delayed the Annual Returns system whilst the necessary changes have been made.
For your information, the consultation dealt with the following matters:
- Do you agree that the fundamental information about charities should be kept up to date by charities throughout the year so that the charity register is accurate?
- Do you agree that the questions in the annual return should be structured so that they match the Commission’s regulatory risk priorities?
- Do you agree that more detailed questions within any theme should be targeted only at charities for which the information is relevant?
We would like to reassure you that if we file the return on your behalf, we will implement this as soon as it is possible to do so, although there may be additional information we need from you once the return is released. If you file returns yourself, please be aware that the system will not be active and available until August 2017.
We apologies for any additional hassle that this may cause your charity and if you should have any additional concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.