The Charity Commission has made a number of amendments to the content of the charity annual return for 2018 (AR18), after an extensive yet positive consultation with charities in autumn 2017. The purpose of these changes are said to help charities have an easier experience when filing their return. Many charities will now be able to complete their return answering fewer questions than before, and it will mainly be larger charities with more complex operations who will have to submit further information on their charity annual return.
The Commission has removed questions on claiming rate relief for the premises charities use and the amount of gift aid they claim. Changes to income being received from overseas is being amended to just include income from overseas Government Income, from quasi-governmental bodies, charities and NGOs, which will be mandatory for the first year.
In comes questions about salaries, bonuses, pension contributions, private healthcare and other benefits in kind. The commission will also require information about a charity’s highest paid employee. The commission will also make public how many individuals receive total packages worth upwards of £60,000 in bands. This information is already included in the financial statements.
The Commission says it is currently developing the digital service that will underpin annual returns for 2018, and hopes to make the return available to charities within the next four months. We hope that this new digital service is a complete revamp of the current system, which we are not great fans of.
Annual returns must be completed by charities with annual income of £10,000 or more and it applies for the financial year ending on or after 01 January 2018. Charities are required to complete their annual return ten months from their financial year end.
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