Form 10-K is a document that U.S.public companies are required to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission at the end of each fiscal year. The form provides a summary of the company's performance over the year, in addition to the annual financial statements. Filers are required to have the Form 10-K audited by an independent auditor before filing it with the SEC.
The SEC defines public company as those with $10 million in assets and over 500 shareholders. Companies which meet this criteria, but are not listed in a stock exchange, are also required to file this form.
Although there is a wide overlap between this form and a company's annual report -- they are not the same document. The 10-K has to follow strict SEC guidelines, whereas the annual report offers more flexibility to the management and is often used for marketing the company to investors.
Form 20-F is used by foreign companies for the same purpose, while Form 40-F is used by Canadian companies.
Most of these filings are available online through SEC's EDGAR database.
10-Ks are required to have the following sections: