After this year’s best set of Annual Parish Returns in a long while, we are determined to do even better next year. We have revised the Diocesan Annual Parish Returns website ( to make it easier to read and navigate giving you all the information you will need to prepare for next year’s annual returns. The site is split into 3 main subject areas:

1. What do I need to submit and by when?

2. How do I access the Online Parish Returns System?

3. Why do I need to submit my returns?

As a quick reminder this is what you need to submit and by when:

1.Statistics for Mission – by 31 January

2. Return of Parish Finance – by 31 May

3. Annual Report, Accounts & Budget – by 31 May

We suggest a team effort where possible involving Wardens, PCC Secretary, PCC Treasurer and the Vicar, rather than just leaving it to the Treasurer or the Vicar. Remember: many hands make light work!

Annual Reports & Accounts with Budget v Online Return of Parish Finance

The submission of the Annual Reports & Accounts with Budget is in addition to the online Return of Parish Finance. The online return is a National Church of England requirement and provides a summary of data for analysis & presentation whilst the Annual Report & Accounts gives the Diocesan Office the detail of what is going on in the Parish. This should be relatively easy for Parishes to submit as they should have been presented at the APCM. What we require is a copy of the:

1. Reports

2. Accounts

3. Signed copy of the Examiner/Auditor Report

4. A budget for the following year.

Legal Requirement

Para 1.13 of the PCC Accountability Guide reminds Parishes of the legal obligation to make their submission to the Diocesan Office:
“All PCCs, registered and excepted, must, however (under the Church Representation Rules) send a copy of the annual report and accounts to the Secretary of the Diocesan Board of Finance, within 28 days of the PCC's Annual Parochial Church Meeting. They must also be provided to the public upon written request (a fee may be charged). PCCs are charitable bodies and may, inter alia, claim tax refunds on Gift Aid contributions, receive investment income without deduction of income tax and in general enjoy all the other tax reliefs available to registered charities.”

Multi-Church Parishes

The Annual Report & Accounts suffers from PCCs not submitting aggregated accounts for their churches preferring to submit single church accounts. Para 1.10 of the PCC Accountability Guide reminds us of the need for aggregated accounts for multi-church PCCs as the PCC is the legal entity:
“A situation may arise where pastoral reorganisation has combined separate parishes into a new single parish and thus a single PCC with DCCs/VCCs as its 'branches' to retain the sense of local community. In both these cases statutory accounts must be produced at the level of the PCC, though these can of course be based on the aggregation of 'branch' accounts that may be produced by the DCCs/VCCs for their own congregations.”

Any queries?

In the first instance please visit the website as this has all the information you should need. If you still have a question then use the details contact details on the website.

Additional information

The online Parish Returns System is now open for you to submit your October count data in the statistics for mission section. You may also be able to submit your Easter attendance data. For details, see the Parish Returns website.