The law on Annual Returns has been changed. Find out more here.

Following the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act receiving Royal Assent in March this year, we now have some details regarding the death of the Annual Return and its replacement with the wholly new and completely different Annual Confirmation Statement…

The new Annual Confirmation Statement, or ‘Check and Confirm’ as Companies House are branding it, will replace the Annual Return from 30th June 2016 (subject to no further setbacks) and will require every UK company to confirm that the information Companies House hold on them is accurate and up to date once in every twelve month period.

One of the drivers of this new annual requirement is to reduce bureaucracy under the Red Tape Challenge, shifting the focus from a company having to resubmit data to Companies House already filed throughout the year, to Companies House providing that data to the company and requesting confirmation that it is still correct.

The practical upshot of this is that when a company logs on to Companies House Electronic Filing to file their Annual Confirmation Statement they will be presented with the information that Companies House hold and be asked to confirm it is accurate. This, of course, bears no resemblance to how a company would currently log on to Companies House Electronic Filing to file their Annual Return and be presented with the information that Companies House hold and be asked to confirm it is accurate.

Sarcasm aside, there are some important differences between the two annual statements, as follows:

  • The introduction of the Annual Confirmation Statement will coincide with the introduction of the new Register of People with Significant Control. This means that the Annual Confirmation Statement will require the details of the PSCs of your company, which the Annual Return does not.
  • The current Annual Return is required to be filed on a fixed date each year; the Annual Confirmation Statement may be filed at any point, but at least once in any twelve month period. Once the Annual Confirmation Statement is filed the clock resets and you do not need to worry about it for another twelve months.
  • The period allowed from the due date for filing the Annual Confirmation Statement, before a company is considered to no longer be in Good Standing, is being reduced from 28 days to 14 days.

There are still some unknowns that are currently being thrashed out at Companies House, including the pricing model that will be used and how the due date of the first Annual Confirmation Statement will be calculated.

On the dates, preliminary thoughts are that it will be 12 months from the date of last filed Annual Return if one has been filed and is up to date, 12 months from incorporation if the company is less than a year old or 12 months from the legal return date if the company is over a year old but a due Annual Return has not yet been filed (this is worth bearing in mind if for any reason you would like to delay the appearance of your company’s PSCs on the public register – filing an early Annual Return on 29th June 2016 would ensure you have another 12 months before your PSC register would need to be filed).

A paper version of the Annual Confirmation Statement will be available, but the format of this is still in discussion. I would anticipate it to take a form similar to the old 363s Shuttle Annual Return but will update this post as new information becomes available.

UPDATE 05/16: More information on the Annual Confirmation Statement has been released and we have written about it here

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Simon has been working in the Company Formation industry since 2003, spending five years with Companies House before joining the private sector and has been with Company Formations 247 since 2008. Originally focusing in specialist formations and company secretarial drafting, Simon is now one of the directors of the Company. Simon contributes articles predominantly on Company Secretarial matters, but has knowledge covering all areas of Company Formation.