An annual return (AR01) was the predecessor of the confirmation statement before 30th June 2016. The annual return such as the confirmation statement is a required document that is to be submitted to Companies House on a yearly basis. However, unlike the Confirmation Statement it does not have any correlation to your company accounts and is not a tax document.The annual return was a general synopsis of your company including specifically details of directors, company secretaries, the registered office, share capital and shareholdings. Like the confirmation statement the due date is unique for every company based on the anniversary of their formation which can change if the annual return is done before the year end which can be a number of reasons.

The SIC Code (Standard Industrial Classification):


This is a code which classifies what industry that businesses previously belonged to was required to complete the annual return. SIC codes are split into trade groups. More detailed classifications are given within each trade group. For example, trade group I refers to Transport, Storage and Communication businesses. 

Within that group individual codes are assigned to businesses depending on what they do. In 2011 Companies House moved from using four digit SIC 2003 codes to revised five digit SIC 2007 codes.  Without the SIC code then the annual return could not be filled because before a company would file its annual return it was required to state the SIC code.

When the first confirmation statement of the company was submitted post the removal of the annual return then the SIC code was required to file it online or on paper for the first time. After this then the company will be automatically updated and it the nature of the business will be listed on the companies house but will not be used in any filing documents.

Difference between AR01 and CS01:


The main difference between the two documents is that companies are no longer required to give the company’s information on a particular date such as accounts. Companies are now annually required to read and confirm that the information currently being held about their company is accurate.

The additional requirements are that when companies confirm their Confirmation Statement for the first time, they will also need to inform Companies House about the people on their PSC (people with significant control) register – which are directors or secretaries – but this is additional form required to be submitted alongside the confirmation statement.

Another change is the Grace period of the annual return to the confirmation statement has changed from 28 days to 14 days which means that after the 14-day period Companies House will take action on the company to strike off the company off the public register. This additionally results in the company’s credit rating depreciating.

Difference between AR01 and CS01


If there are unreported changes to any of the following, they must be reported alongside the confirmation statement:

  •  The location of the company’s registered office address
  • The location of any Single Alternative Inspection Location (SAIL)
  • Where various statutory records are kept (if the company uses a SAIL)
  • Trade classification codes (also known as SIC codes)
  • Directors and their details (including residential addresses)
  • Any company secretary and their details
  • Share capital
  • Shareholders
  • Share transfers in the confirmation period

A company already in existence must include PSC details in their first confirmation statement from 30 June 2016, which may include details of:

  • Each individual PSC and the nature of their control over the company
  • Each registrable relevant legal entity and the nature of their control over the company
  • Registrable changes in the particulars of individual PSCs or registrable relevant legal entities before the confirmation date
  • The progress of ongoing investigations into a company’s PSCs, including where a PSC is believed to exist but cannot be identified or has been identified but not yet confirmed their details to enter into the PSC register
  • Where appropriate, confirmation that the company has no PSCs
  • In a very few cases, confirmation that the company is exempt from the requirement to maintain a PSC register

Things to include in an Annual Return:

  • The company registered name.
  • The type of company – private or public.
  • The company registered office address.
  • If they are not kept at the registered office address, the address where certain company registers are kept.
  • The date to which the Annual Return has been made up.
  • The principal business activities of the company
  • The name and address of the company secretary (if applicable)
  • Prescribed details for all directors – including their name, any former name, service address, date of birth, nationality and business occupation.