Edit Content

How to File Annual Returns for Businesses in Nigeria

How to file annual returns

Filing annual returns is a pivotal event in the corporate calendar of any Nigerian business. It is not just a legal formality; it’s a declaration of your company’s existence and an affirmation of its compliance with local business laws. In this article, we will look at how to file annual returns in Nigeria.

But why is filing annual returns important? For starters, it keeps your business on the right side of the law. Moreover, it reassures stakeholders that your company is alive and kicking, up-to-date with its obligations, and transparent in its operations.

See Also: How to transition from not having a business idea to having a functional registered business.

Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don't Have An Idea
Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don’t Have An Idea

Now, the term ‘filing annual returns’ might sound complex, especially for new entrepreneurs and business leaders new to the corporate world in Nigeria. However, the good news is that we are here to guide you every step of the way. Contact us today at 08038874148 or 08188122223.

This article will teach you what you need to know about annual returns and help you understand the steps to file your annual returns. Our aim is to turn what can often seem like a difficult task into a routine checkmark on your business to-do list.

See Also: Annual Returns filing in Nigeria- Everything you need to know about annual returns.

It is important to keep in mind that filing of annual returns is not only about adhering to regulations; it’s about showcasing your business’s resilience and reliability. Get ready as you learn how to file your annual returns.

See Also: Comprehensive guide on how to register your business with CAC

What Are Annual Returns?

In Nigeria, filing annual returns is more than a formality—it’s a vital sign of your business’s health. Think of it like an annual health check for your company, where you report its financial heartbeat to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

This process involves submitting details about your company’s activities, financial performance, and structural changes over the previous year.

See Also: Factors to consider before choosing a legal structure in Nigeria.

Why File Annual Returns

Annual returns are your way of waving to the business community and regulatory bodies, saying, “We’re active and accountable!”

Filing annual returns is important because they’re a reflection of your business’s integrity and its adherence to Nigerian business regulations. They affect your company’s reputation, too. Investors and partners often peek at these records to gauge reliability and potential for growth.

See Also: Advantages of registering a business in Nigeria

Annual Returns vs. Other Financial Reports

Entrepreneurs always mix them up. Let’s clear it up. Annual returns are not the same as your annual financial statements. While both are about numbers, annual returns summarize the company’s operational outline — who’s in charge, shareholder structure, and administrative changes.

Financial statements, on the other hand, dive deep into the nitty-gritty of your financial health — profits, losses, assets, and liabilities.

Filing annual returns in Nigeria is a declaration of your company’s current status and compliance.

Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days
Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days

Meanwhile, other financial reports are like the detailed diagnosis after a thorough examination. They reveal the financial intricacies of your business operations.

See Also: How to register a company in Nigeria

Legal Requirements About Annual Returns and Deadlines

When operating a business in Nigeria, one of your non-negotiable duties is to file annual returns. The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is the watchdog that ensures your business complies with the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA). According to this act, your company is expected to submit an annual return every year.

What Does the Law Say About Annual Returns?

The law is clear: every registered business entity in Nigeria, from startups to established corporations, must file annual returns no later than 30 days after the anniversary of its incorporation.

This isn’t just a best practice; it’s a statutory obligation. Annual returns should reflect changes, if any, in the structure of the company, such as the appointment of new directors or a change in share distribution.

The Cost of Procrastination on Annual Returns

Timeliness is not just a virtue in this context—it’s a cost-saving strategy. Delaying your filing can attract avoidable penalties. For small businesses, this might be a financial hiccup; for larger corporations, it could result in heftier fines.

Beyond the fines, there’s the issue of reputation. Consistently late filings can signal potential instability to investors and might even affect your ability to obtain loans or engage in certain business transactions.

To keep your business in good standing and avoid unnecessary fines, it’s imperative to understand how to file annual returns in Nigeria promptly. Treat the filing deadline as a fixed appointment on your business calendar, non-negotiable and as critical as any top-tier business meeting.

See Also: Frequently Asked question about business registration in Nigeria

How To File Annual Returns in Nigeria

Before you start the process of filing your annual returns, you need to gather your business’s essential documents.

Start with your financial statements for the past year. These are the scorecards showing how well your business has done financially. Next, your Tax Identification Number (TIN) is crucial; it’s your business’s identity in the tax world.

Lastly, pull together the details of directors and shareholders — these are the VIPs of your company, and their information must be up to date.

Financial Statements

A good place to begin is with your financial statements. Ensure they’ve been audited if required, as this gives them the credibility needed for filing.

Tax Identification Number (TIN)

Your TIN is non-negotiable. Without it, you’re invisible to the tax system, and you can’t proceed with your annual filings.

See Also: How to get TIN in Nigeria.

Directors and Shareholders

Update any changes among your directors and shareholders. New faces in the boardroom? New investors? Get this info ready.

The Process of Filing Annual Returns

Now, we will look at how to file your annual returns online and offline.

How to File Annual Returns Online

  1. Access the Portal: Start by visiting the CAC online services portal.
  2. Log In or Register: If you’ve filed online before, log in. If not, you’ll need to register your company on the platform.
  3. Enter Your Company Information: Go to the annual return section and enter your company’s details.
  4. Upload Documents: Attach your prepared financial statements, evidence of TIN, and updated particulars of directors and shareholders.
  5. Review: Double-check every piece of information. An error could cost you time and money.
  6. Submit and Pay: With everything in order, submit your form and pay the filing fee. Print out the acknowledgement slip at the end.

The whole process can be done for you by ReDahlia. Reach out to us at 08038874148 or 08188122223.

See Also: Procedure for registering a company in Nigeria

How to File Annual Returns Offline

If you prefer the traditional way, you’ll need to visit a CAC office. Take all your documents, get a form, fill it out, and submit it over the counter.

How to Ensure Accuracy When You File Your Annual Returns

To ensure accuracy when filing your annual returns, do the following:

  • Double-Check: Go over your figures and facts more than once.
  • Use Verified Information: Only use information from your company records that you can verify.
  • Seek Help if Needed: If you’re unsure, professional help is worth the investment. Contact ReDahlia today at 08038874148 or 08188122223.

See Also: How to register a business name in Nigeria

Common Mistakes to Avoid When You File Your Annual Returns

Filing annual returns in Nigeria can trip up even the most seasoned entrepreneurs. Here are some common errors and how to sidestep them:

  1. Mixing up Deadlines: Don’t get your dates twisted. Each year, mark your calendar with the due date that’s 30 days post your company’s incorporation anniversary.
  2. Inaccurate Information: Typos aren’t just a small blunder; they can be costly. Always review names, numbers, and details with the precision of an eagle-eyed editor.
  3. Outdated Company Information: Companies evolve, and so should their filings. Keep track of any changes in shareholders or directors, so your returns reflect the current state of affairs.
  4. Ignoring Compliance Changes: Laws aren’t set in stone. Stay updated with the latest CAC guidelines to ensure compliance.
  5. Double-Check, Then Check Again: It bears repeating: verify all your information before submission. If your gut says something’s off, or you’re wading into unfamiliar territory, don’t hesitate to consult a professional. Better safe than sorry.

See Also: How to register an NGO successfully in Nigeria

Benefits of Timely and Accurate Filing of Annual Returns

It Helps Avoid Troubles

Filing your annual returns on time and without errors helps protect your business from penalties and legal tangles. It keeps the CAC off your back and your funds in your account.

Builds Trust

More than just avoiding problems, timely and accurate filing boosts your business’s reputation. It tells clients, investors, and banks, “We’ve got our act together.” It’s a badge of honour showing you’re a credible player in the market.

Helps You Stay Compliant

In summary, filing annual returns correctly and punctually in Nigeria is a critical step that demonstrates your company’s reliability and commitment to good governance.

Avoid the pitfalls and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with being in good standing—legally and in the business community.

See Also: Benefits of registering a business in Nigeria.

Know When To Call For Help

When it comes to filing annual returns in Nigeria, even the most astute entrepreneurs may find themselves at a crossroads. If your books are complex, or if the thought of legal compliance sends a shiver down your spine, you need professional help. This is where we come in. Call today on 08188122223 or 08038874148.

You need our help especially if:

  • Your business has had a significant increase in activity or complexity.
  • There have been major changes in share ownership or company structure.
  • You’re new to the business world and unsure about the filing process.

See Also: How to choose the right business structure in Nigeria.


We’ve covered the essentials of how to file annual returns in Nigeria, from understanding what annual returns are to the benefits of timely submission. Also, we explored the common pitfalls and underscored the importance of accuracy.

Filing annual returns shouldn’t feel like a Herculean task; rather, it’s an integral part of your business’s routine check-up and ensures your business runs without a hitch.

Begin your filing process early. Procrastination is a luxury that can cost you dearly. Let us be your guide as you navigate your business registration and tax process.

See Also: Detailed explanation of the different business structures in Nigeria

How We Can Help You Register Your Business And Comply With Taxes Monthly

Send us a message on WhatsApp- 08188122223 or 08038874148 to help you with your business registration and tax compliance.

Our Essential Compliance Service Covers:

Initial Registration for VAT/TIN Certificate: Complete facilitation of your initial VAT/TIN registration process with FIRS and LIRS.

Initial Registration for PAYE, Business Premises, and Development Levy.

Monthly PAYE: Computation of PAYE deductible, remittance of PAYE, and filing of monthly returns.

Monthly VAT: Computation of VAT payable, remittance of VAT, and filing of monthly returns, taking cognizance of applicable tax laws.

Annual Business Premises and Development Levy Renewal

On-Demand Premium Services

Should your business require our ProMAX Compliance Service, which includes account preparation, auditing, and TCC filing, please contact us directly. This premium service is tailored to your specific needs and billed upon request.

Why Choose Our Compliance Services?

Peace of Mind: With our expertise, you can rest assured that your compliance needs are in capable hands.

Cost Efficiency: Save on potential non-compliance penalties with our cost-effective services.

Expert Guidance: Our seasoned professionals keep your business compliant amidst regulatory changes.

Get in touch today by clicking the Contact Us page or sending us a message on WhatsApp: 08038874148 or 08188122223.

How We Can Work with You to Start And Grow Your Business

If you want to work with our founder- Florence Chikezie to start a profitable and sustainable business, then enrol in the Start Your Business in 30 Days Program. She will take you from idea to starting your business in 30 days. At the end of the program, you will get a registered business with CAC, logo and brand assets, admin set-up, one-on-one consulting sessions and more. Click here to enrol.

Every week, she teaches practical business lessons that have helped thousands of entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. If you want to benefit from her teachings, click to sign up for the weekly business lesson here.

She is an internationally trained award-winning entrepreneur running three profitable businesses and a member of the prestigious Forbes Coaches Council. 

She also works with companies and established corporations to scale their impact and revenue. Reach us at Business@entrepreneurs.ng if you would like to transform your business.

See the different ways we can help increase your business success.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Join Entrepreneurs Family

No spam, only business insights and tips. 

Entrepreneurs Sign Up

Business Registration

Most Popular

Join Entrepreneurs Family

No spam, only business insights and tips. 

Entrepreneurs Sign Up

Related Posts

Social Selling

How to Use Social Selling to Drive eCommerce Sales

Mastering the art of social selling is no longer an option; it’s a necessity for eCommerce businesses. Social selling, leveraging social media platforms to connect with potential customers, has emerged as a powerful strategy to drive eCommerce sales and foster meaningful relationships with buyers. The rise of social media has

Business mentor

How Entrepreneurs Can Find a Business Mentor

Who is a Business Mentor? Think of a business mentor as a seasoned guide in the jungle of business. They’ve already walked the paths you’re on and know where the quicksand is and how to avoid it. It’s like they have a map to the treasure in this case business

Cheapest Business Ideas To Start

10 Cheapest Business Ideas To Start In Nigeria

Nigeria’s heartbeat is its entrepreneurial spirit. In a country with endless opportunities, the concept of entrepreneurship is not just a path to personal success; it’s a necessity for national progress. We will be exploring the 10 cheapest business ideas you can start to contribute to the national growth of Nigeria.

Small Business Insurance

Small Business Insurance- Everything You Need To Know

Why does a small business need insurance? Imagine small business insurance as a safety net for your business. It is designed to catch you when unexpected events threaten to tumble your hard work into chaos. This form of insurance comprises various policies designed to provide a financial cushion against the

Scroll to Top

Join Entrepreneurs Family!

Get access to FREE business insights and funding opportunities daily.

Entrepreneurs Sign Up