Updates to Charity Annual Return

6 August 2018 | Applicable law: England and Wales

In March we covered the changes to the Charity Commission annual return introduced at the start of the year and due to come into effect as part of the Commission’s 2018 annual return service.

The Charity Commission has now published guidance on the new annual return and charity details services, which are due to go live shortly. The questions will apply to returns on periods ending after 1 January 2018. As a refresher, new questions will be asked on topics including:

  • Salaries and benefits in charities;

  • Overseas expenditure;

  • Overseas income;

  • Government income; and

  • Professional fundraising.

The most recent Charity Commission announcement recaps some of the questions which will be asked, but the detail on how these questions will be asked and of whom will be borne out when the new return goes live.

The announcement wording suggests all charities will need to list all overseas income in the categories described. We note that the new questions on overseas income were intended to vary according to the size of charities and the identity of the donor. However the intention was always for all charities to disclose the total value of income received from overseas governments, quasi-government bodies, Non-Profit Organisations or unknown sources.

Trustees should also note that on the basis of previous announcements responses providing the value of the total employee benefits of the highest paid employees will not be made public.

The Commission’s changes to its ‘Charity details’ service includes a push ‘as part of service improvements’ to ‘ask that all trustees supply their email address, or confirm that they do not have one’. This forms part of the Commission’s attempt to improve contact with trustees, along with the trustee welcome pack to be distributed by email to all new trustees.

However the announcement does not refer to questions being moved from the current annual return service to Charity details to form part of an ongoing obligation to update the Charity Commission, which was part of the original consultation.

This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.


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