'File accounts and Annual Returns on time' charities told

 1 in 5 charities send annual accounts and returns late 

(Immediate Release - 3 February 2010 )





Charities are being urged by the charity regulator, the Charity Commission, to send their accounts and Annual Returns on time this year. Last year 80% of charities did send their documents in on time but the remaining 20% did not meet their deadlines. The regulator is launching a regional press campaign to encourage local trustees to ensure their charity files on time.

Nearly one in five charities that are required to send their accounts and Annual Returns to the Charity Commission send them in after the ten month deadline. Charities whose income exceeded £10,000 in their last financial year have to submit an Annual Return. Charities whose income was more than £25,000 also have to submit their accounts in addition to their Annual Return.

The regional press campaign is the latest measure by the Commission to increase the rate of charities filing documents on time. A charity’s record in filing accounts and Annual Returns is displayed on the Charity Commission’s website as part of the public Register of Charities. In 2008 the Commission introduced a system to its online Register of Charities to ‘flag’ charities who had filed on time in green, and charities who had outstanding documents in red. The Register of Charities is visited by millions of users every year.

Dame Suzi Leather, Chair of the Charity Commission said:

“It’s not acceptable for charities to send their annual accounts and returns late - they are accountable not just to us but most importantly to their donors, to those whom they exist to help and to the wider public. As well as being a requirement, charities run the risk of damaging their own reputations and putting off potential donors if their financial affairs are not in order. Charities should provide up to date information on how they are spending their money, particularly in the current climate when every penny of charitable money counts.”

The percentage of charities filing accounts on time has risen from 73.6% in 2006-7 to 77% in 2008-9, and the percentage of Annual Returns filed on time have risen from 76% in 2006-7 to 77% in 2008-9. In 2008-9, 94% of the sector’s income was accounted for in annual accounts filed within the ten month deadline.

Charities have ten months from the end of their financial year to send their accounts and Annual Return to the Charity Commission. The most convenient way for charities to submit their details is online at www.charitycommission.gov.uk. 80% of charities are now using the Commission’s online services to submit in their Annual Returns, and 65% use online services to submit their accounts.

For further information please contact the press office

Notes to Editors

1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. See www.charitycommission.gov.uk for further information or call our contact centre on 0845 300 0218.

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