The Charity Commission has today (5 October) confirmed that a new annual return is available for charities to use for the 2023 period and is anticipated to be in use in the coming years.
The new return has been devised as a result of feedback received from a formal consultation process involving both charities and the public.
The new question set, which has been available for consideration since 2022 and will be in place until at least 2025, has been developed in order to be more user-friendly and easier for charities to navigate.
The changes see the introduction of income thresholds to certain questions, the rewording of questions to be more clear, and enhancing the guidance to assist charities in responding to questions with greater speed and accuracy.
The new Annual Return also allows trustees to submit figures aligned to those used in account preparation, rather than the calculation of percentages.
Charities with yearly incomes of £10,000 per year or more should complete and file their annual return within 10 months of the end of their financial reporting period. This applies to charitable incorporated organisations (CIOs).
Charities should file their returns using the new My Charity Commission Account service.
Speaking of the changes, Niall Kingsley, head of charities at Duncan & Toplis said:
“Following a consultation process it is pleasing to see that in the outcomes the Charity Commission have listened to feedback, tried to be proportionate and minimise the impact and burden on smaller charities by introducing thresholds to some of the questions.
“There was a general understanding from participators as to why the Charity Commission wanted to collect the data from the various questions and that it would enable them to regulate the sector and respond to risks in a proactive, not reactive, manner, and provide better data to government and wider stakeholders.
“It is also pleasing that they are going to be providing clarity on why they are asking the questions and what it is they are going to do with the data which in turn provides clarity for Trustees. There is plenty of guidance on the new questions so if you are a Trustee responsible for completing your charity’s annual return, do take the time to review that well in advance of completing your return for your financial year ending in 2023, particularly those that might be filing close to the deadline!”
If you have any questions please do contact Niall or our Charities team.