All change on annual returns

The Charity Commission has announced a series of changes to charities’ annual returns and to the information displayed on its online register of charities for this year.

Among the changes to the annual return for 2014 will be:

  • an additional question, and published answer, about whether the charity pays trustees
  • a new question, and published answer, about whether a charity raises funds from the public
  • a new question, and published answer, asking whether a charity has a trading subsidiary
  • a new section encouraging charities to explain what they have achieved during the year
  • publication of whether a charity is a member of the Fundraising Standards Board.

The Commission has also announced it will show on a charity’s register page if its accounts had been qualified by an auditor or independent examiner, whether it had become insolvent or was in administration or was subject to enforcement action by the Commission for non-submission of accounts.

The latter would apply to charities that have failed to submit their accounts after repeated reminders and remain in default six months after their filing deadline.

The new arrangements follow a consultation on the proposed changes in 2013. Jane Hobson, head of policy at the Commission, said: “The annual return is an important tool that the Commission uses to inform its regulatory approach, promote good governance and make sure that charities are accountable to the public.

“We were mindful of getting the balance right between the need for charities to be transparent without making the task of completing the annual return too much of a burden and we are pleased that all 10 proposals were agreed to by the majority of the respondents to the consultation.”

These changes will come into effect for the annual return for 2014 and a new annual return form and guidance is due to be published this month (January).

At Milsted Langdon, our experienced charities team is ideally placed to provide guidance to charities as they complete the new annual return for the first time. For more information on any aspect of the return, please contact us.

Posted in Charities.