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Regulatory Returns

In addition to filing statutory accounts and tax returns, you may have an obligation to submit forms providing certain information about your company. These are known as regulatory returns and may be required either by law or in accordance with the rules of your trade association or supervisory authority. It can be a criminal offence not to file these returns and directors who fail to do so may well be prosecuted. They should therefore be treated just as seriously as your other duties and responsibilities.

The most common of these is the Companies House Confirmation Statement. This must be filed annually by every single company in the UK, including those that are dormant. Usually it is a simple matter of confirming that the information shown online is correct and submitting it, but larger companies with constantly changing directors and shareholders may have to do a bit more work on them. The biggest change over the old Annual Return is the need to report “persons with significant control”. These are the people who own and control the company (usually directors and shareholders) and is on top of the need to disclose those persons separately in other parts of the Confirmation Statement. All shareholders owning more than 25% of the shares (or voting rights) must be disclosed. You must also keep a register of these persons and update it at all times (not just once a year) in case anyone wants to see it. The annual fee remains £13.

You are also obliged to register with the Information Commissioner if you deal with members of the public and store personal details such as names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card details or bank accounts. Fortunately this is a one-off requirement but you do have to keep them informed of any changes to your record such as the data controller and the type of information kept.

From time to time you may receive forms from the Office of National Statistics requesting information about your trading activities. These are used for compiling data about the UK economy and participating companies are generally selected at random. You may well feel that your company is nowhere near big enough to be relevant for such returns but you are legally obliged to send them back so it is best to make sure that someone is responsible for them.

The most time-consuming returns are usually those required by supervisory bodies. For example, all insurance companies must submit detailed returns to the Financial Conduct Authority each year disclosing their solvency margins, and most tour operators have to apply for an ATOL license and lodge annual returns with the Civil Aviation Authority. It is important to ensure that your systems can provide the necessary information for these returns to be completed.

At Acumen we can either prepare these returns for you or train your staff to do them. Please give us a call if you would like any help with your regulatory returns.

Information Sheets Administrative Tips
bulletpoint Companies House forms
Back-up
Make sure you take copies of the returns and keep some back-up so you know where the information came from.
Consistency
Ensure that the information given in the returns is based on the same data sets throughout in order to maintain consistency.
Electronic filing
Use the PROOF system to file documents and returns at Companies House to protect against identity theft and subscribe to e-reminders to avoid late returns.
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