Every limited company in the UK has to submit an Annual Return to Companies House, usually on the anniversary of incorporation. Via Form AR01, the Registrar of Companies captures a current information about the company itself, its officials, and the breakdown of share capital.
What information does the Annual Return contain?
The main information captured by Form AR01 includes:
- Company name, registration number, and registered address.
- An alternative address (if applicable) where the company keeps its records.
- The made-up date of the return (the date to which the return is made up to).
- The main business activities of the company (identified by SIC codes).
- A statement of capital (if the company has shares).
- Whether or not the company has traded its shared on the stock market.
- A list of company shareholders (including the details of any transfers which have taken place over the past 12 months).
- Whether the company is private or public.
- Company secretary details (if applicable).
- Company director details (name, address, etc.)
How do you submit the Annual Return?
The limited company director(s) and company secretary (if you have appointed one) are responsible for ensuring that the Annual Return is completed and sent back to Companies House within 28 days of the anniversary of incorporation (or made up date of the last return). Failure to do so is a criminal offence, and you could be prosecuted for failing to submit your Return.
Every year, you should receive a letter reminding you that your Annual Return is due. By far the easiest method of submitting the Return is online (via WebFiling), alternatively you can still submit a paper return if you choose (see here).
Companies House charges a £40 fee for paper returns, and a mere £13 if you (or your accountant) submits the form via WebFiling or Software Filing.
This guide applies to all limited companies. Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) must use form LL AR01.
You cannot use the Annual Return to change details relating to the company, or its officials. You should use the correct Companies House forms to communicate any changes in address, names, or other matters.
You can change the Annual Return deadline which applies to your company, but this must be earlier (not later) than the current anniversary.
For the official guide to Annual Returns, read ‘Life of a Company’ Chapter 1 on the Companies House (GOV.UK) website.