Annual Returns are legally required to maintain Companies House records.
All Companies are required to make Annual Returns to Companies House that states the company’s directors and shareholders at the date of the return.
The due date for an Annual Return is a year after the company’s incorporation or the date of the previous Annual Return, and can be filed up to 28 days after the due date.
Annual Returns can be filed sooner than this, e.g. to ensure a new shareholder is shown on the Companies House records, but this is not usually necessary.
From April 2016 the Annual Return is to be replaced by an Annual Confirmation Statement to confirm that the details held by Companies House are correct. To all intents and purposes this is a rebranded Annual Return, except the deadline for this Confirmation Statement will be 14 days after the specified date.
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