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Annual Return checklist
Updated February 2012
Use this checklist to work out the information you need to complete your Annual Return.
We encourage you to file your Annual Return online by logging into your account.
- Filing online costs less than filing on paper.
- It’s already partly completed using your details from the Charities Register.
- You can complete it in stages by logging in and out.
To file a Return you will need:
- your User ID and password to log into your account or
- an Annual Return form printed from the website and
- a copy of the financial statements for your last financial year (they don’t have to be audited)
- details about changes to your charity’s:
- address for service
- balance date
Information needed to complete your Annual Return includes:
- Your charity’s legal or most formal name.
- Any other names it is known by.
- Postal and street address.
- Phone, fax, email and website details (these contact details are optional – you don’t have to provide them.)
- Your Charities Services registration number.
- End of financial year/balance date.
- A reasonable estimate of the percentage of any funds sourced in New Zealand but spent overseas in your last financial year.
- A copy of the financial statements for your last financial year (they don’t have to be audited).
- The type of accounting method you use, cash or accrual.
- A statement of your financial performance and position set out in the template in the Annual Return. (See question 25 of the paper form and our information sheet Annual Return financial information help notes for more details.)
If your rules have changed, you need to send us:
- a copy of the amendment and
- a copy of the record of the change – for example, minutes of the meeting showing the decision and the effective date of the change to the rules.
- The approximate number of paid full time and paid part time employees that work for you in an average week, and the approximate number of hours they work.
- The approximate number of volunteers that work for you in an average week, and the approximate number of hours they work.
You will need to specify by choosing from a list:
- the sectors your organisation operates in – for example, “health”.
- your activities – for example, “makes grants”.
- who benefits from your organisation.
- the geographical area your organisation operates in.
- The names of any new officers. Complete an Officer Certification form – Form 2 for each new officer. We recommend that the officer signs the form, but it can be signed by someone on their behalf.
- The name of any officer who is no longer an officer, and their last date as an officer. If you are removing an officer because they no longer qualify as an officer, you must complete a Notification of change for a disqualified officer form - Form 8, and send it with your Return.
Helpful tip: if one of your officers has become disqualified for any reason, it’s important that you know about it and consider their suitability to remain in a position of responsibility in your charity.
Most charities hold an annual general meeting (AGM), and we suggest that prior to your AGM you should contact each of your officers and ask them to confirm to you that they are still qualified.
To help you confirm that your officers are still qualified, you can use our template ‘officer confirmation’ letter and checklist.
Information that may accompany your Annual Return (but is not essential):
- The name, phone and email details of the person you would like us to contact regarding any administrative matters. (For example, if we find a question has been overlooked.)
- A letter asking us to restrict public access to your information on the Register. See our information sheet Restricting public access to your information on the Charities Register.
Helpful tips for filing online
- Ask the person who does your accounts to send you an electronic copy of your charity’s financial statements. Make sure you’ve received it before you sit down to file your Return online.
- If you only have paper copies of your financial statements or other supporting documents such as new rules, have them scanned and saved as an electronic file. You can do this at your local library or, (in many areas), your Citizens’ Advice Bureau. There may be a charge for this service.
- Save all the electronic documents into a folder on your computer. It doesn’t matter what format they are saved in – a .pdf is best, but a Word document or Excel spreadsheet is fine.
Some charities tell us they certify officers online, but keep a paper form, signed by the officer, in their files as an additional record.