Annual reporting timeline
Posted on 5 August 2016
I had a very good question from a friend and “Chief Doer of Things” for a local charity recently. He was planning his end of year process, and wanted to know the key dates he needed to consider so that he could get everything done in time for the annual return filing deadline with Charities Services. The due date for filing an annual return with Charities Services is 6 months after your balance date. In theory, this should give charities enough time to prepare their performance report (Tier 3 and 4) or financial statements (Tier 1 and 2), and have them audited and approved at their AGM. If, however, you don’t plan it in advance, it can end up being a bit of a rush.
I put together this step-by-step timeline which charities may find useful in thinking about what needs to be done to put together their performance report (Tier 3 and 4) and file on time:
Remember, all of these steps need to be completed within 6 months, so it’s important to get the ball rolling very soon after your balance date. It might be useful to prepare a schedule that you and your committee or board can stick to so that everyone knows what is expected and when. Also remember that if you are getting an accountant to prepare your accounts, you need to give them enough time to do it, especially in this first year of the new reporting standards when things are a bit new.
The Charities Services annual return has been updated to align with the new reporting standards and we also now require a bit of additional information. Most of this will be available from your performance report, however, we also do now require you to update your officers when completing your annual return, and also for you to provide their dates of birth and addresses. The point here is that it may take you a little more time to complete this year so don’t leave it until the last minute!