The Charity Annual Return update has now come into full effect. The new-style annual return service will be available from the Charity Commission’s website from the end of August. You may recall that I wrote about the planned changes in January. I highlighted that The Charity Commission had decided to ask about certain information such as salaries and benefits to increase accountability. The Charity Commission will not publish details of benefits given to the paid member of staff on the public register.
The Charity Commission has decided to ask charities about overseas income and expenditure. The reason behind this is “all money transfer processes bear risks, and it’s important that charities take appropriate steps to manage these”. Some charities will need to make changes to the way they keep records to answer some of the questions relating to overseas income and expenditure. The Charity Commission is aiming to be more reasonable with this and made this optional for 2018 but mandatory from 2019. This will allow charities breathing space to make the necessary changes to their accounting system to answer these questions.
The Charity Commission has also given charities and not-for-profits advance notice so that they can start preparing for the return now. This is mainly because they have recognised that some of the questions require additional information which the charities may have to start collating during the year. Some charities will also need to make changes to their financial systems to collect and sort the information easily.
The good news is that The Charity Commission has now dropped plans to ask charities about whether they claim Gift Aid.
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