We have updated OSCR Online - click here for more information on how to submit your annual return

Don't leave it until the last minute to submit your accounts to OSCR

02 Dec 2020

Every charity registered in Scotland has to provide annual accounts information to OSCR.

The deadline for a charity to send us this information is 9 months after its financial ‘year end’ date. For example, if your charity has a financial year end date of 31 March 2020 you need to submit the required documents to OSCR by 31 December 2020.* However, if you are a charity that has been due to submit annual information to OSCR between 01 March and 31 December 2020, we have introduced a ‘grace period’ of 9 months to recognise the ongoing challenges due to COVID-19. We would still encourage all charities who are able to submit their documentation on time to do so.

We use the information to update each charity’s entry on the Scottish Charity Register. A charity’s register entry will highlight when they have failed to provide us with the information on time. Anyone, such as funders or members of the public, will be able to see that the annual information has not been submitted. However, we have amended the Register to reflect our current position and when a charity submits during this additional ‘grace period’. We would like to reinforce the fact that we are not currently penalising charities for being late during this time, and we would ask that organisations and individuals understand this position when looking at the register.

To help charities submit within their 9 month deadline we are allowing charities to submit accounts with typed signatures rather than ‘wet signatures’. 

Submitting the information is straightforward:

  1. Log in to OSCR Online
  2. Click on the link to complete an online annual return
  3. Answer the questions in the return and attach the annual report and accounts (including the independent examiners or audit report) when asked.

We have a huge amount of information on charity accounting available on our website – webinars, guidance, blogs and much more. You can find specific information on how to prepare your charity’s accounts here, and there is guidance on completing an online annual return available on our website to help you complete one correctly. Ideally, you should try and scan any documents yourself. However, there is an option to subsequently post us any documents you cannot attach electronically when you complete the online annual return.

To make sure that the accounts you attach to your online annual return are processed as quickly as possible, please make sure that:

  • Ideally the annual report and accounts should be in one document but where file size is prohibitive (see below), you should attach more than one item
  • Files are under 8mb in size
  • The accounts are in pdf format **
  • All of the pages are in one file instead of separate files
  • The files you attach are not password protected

The very best way for a charity to share their reports and accounts on our register is by also publishing them on their own website then providing us with a link when you complete your online annual return. This can have the added bonus of charities using that page on their website to share other information about the charity’s activities and impact. There are 50,000 searches on the charity register every month, so this is a potential opportunity for charities to reach a new audience. You can provide the link in Section A (Question 4) of the Annual Return.

For further advice or help, please contact a Third Sector Interface (TSI). You can find your local TSI here. 

*  If your deadline is between 31 December and 08 January and you are posting paper documentation we need to have the documents with us by 18 December 2020 at the latest - otherwise it will be difficult for us to process them all before New Year. However, if you are completing an annual return in OSCR Online and attaching the required documents at the same time, you have your full 9 months to complete the process.

** OSCR Online will also accept word and excel documents however we would prefer documents in a PDF format.