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Is your online annual return deadline coming up?

07 Dec 2023

Each year, every registered charity in Scotland must send OSCR a set of accounts, a trustees’ annual report and an external scrutiny report. Charities submit this information by completing an online annual return using OSCR Online.

OSCR requires this information within 9 months of a charity’s ‘year-end’ date. For example, when a charity has a financial year-end of 31 March its deadline date is 31 December. A significant number of charities have a deadline between December and January. It is clearly marked on a charity’s entry in the Scottish Charity Register if they have missed their deadline.

If your charity’s deadline is coming up soon, please ensure you are ready to submit your online annual return. Please note, our offices will be closed during the festive period and we will be unable to answer queries during this time.

How to use OSCR Online to submit an online annual return

If you are the principal contact for a charity or are responsible for submitting the online annual return, please log in to OSCR Online now to ensure you have access to the system.

Click here to log in to OSCR Online. Once logged in, you can update your charity’s details and add or remove charity users if necessary, as well as complete the online annual return.

On our website you will find guidance to help you use OSCR Online, including:

  • How to submit an online annual return
  • How to update your principal contact details
  • FAQs including how to reset your password, add/remove users and update your charity details.

You can also view our webinar with more information about using OSCR Online to submit your online annual return:

Read more information and guidance about charity accounting and annual submissions here:

What happens if your charity is late?

If your charity does not submit their online annual return before the deadline, a red box with your late submission date will appear on your Scottish Charity Register entry to highlight this to the public and others, such as funders.

It’s important to remember that your register page will continue to show historical data from annual returns from the previous five years, so everyone can see whether you submitted on time.

Additionally, if a charity does not provide us with the required information the following could apply:

  • Under section 45 of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005, we can appoint an accountant to prepare the accounts at the trustees' expense.
  • Charities who submit their accounts after their deadline may experience difficulties in obtaining external funding, as many funders use the information on the register to inform their funding decisions.
  • Charities may not be able to access other benefits of charitable status, such as exemption from water rates.