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Filing your Annual Return

One of the most important requirements for co-operatives is filing an annual return. An annual return consists of two things: updating your co-op’s information with the government, and submitting your financial review.

Follow the annual return guidelines closely

Governments are very good at telling people what to do. Your provincial ‘corporate registry’ will provide very clear steps to follow when filing your annual return through their website. There are government employees available to help you file your annual return and comply with any regulations; if you’re not sure about the requirements and what they mean, reach out for help. There’s a fee to file your return; the amount varies across provinces. The fee may also be higher if you miss the filing deadline following your Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Preparing your financial review

Preparing a financial review is one of the more daunting tasks a board will encounter. This is largely because it requires good record-keeping and awareness of the financial matters of the co-operative. Working with a bookkeeper or accountant is a good way to ensure your financial records are well prepared for a year-end review. Conducting a financial review is an important part of a co-operative’s AGM because it describes the financial health of the co-op to the members. Once approved by the membership, the review can be submitted to the government. Each province has a different time period within which this needs to be done (e.g. 2-6 months).

Rules and requirements for audited financial statements also vary. You may not have to conduct an audit, depending on the regulations in your province. Being a for-profit, non-profit, or charitable co-op may impact the type of return you require. It’s always best to consult your province’s regulators or a lawyer to determine the specific requirement for your organization. Not sure where to look or who to talk to? Contact us, we can help you figure it out. 

Maintain updated information

Completing an annual review is the main way of updating the government with information about your co-op. This may include:

  • an up-to-date co-op name
  • an up-to-date location of the office
  • a list of directors with their contact information and address
  • up-to-date incorporation documents
  • some financial information: totals for revenue, assets, retained earnings, expenditures, liabilities, and member equity

For more information specific to your province, click the links below:




British Columbia

Canada (federal co-operatives)

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