Charity Commission opens consultation on annual return

Questions include whether charities should be required to keep fundamental information up to date more regularly

The Charity Commission has opened a consultation on reforming next year’s annual return.

The consultation, which opened yesterday and runs until 9 March, is part of a two-year project to review the information the commission collects from charities.

It will consider whether structural changes are needed to the annual return and questions include whether charities should keep fundamental information up to date more regularly, rather than annually, and whether the annual return could be made more targeted and proportionate to reduce the regulatory burden on charities.

The consultation will also ask if questions in the annual return should match the commission’s strategic priorities and be targeted at the relevant charities.

According to the consultation document, the commission will not be adding any new question areas, but instead consider the nature of the questions currently asked.

It also says that the commission is not consulting on any changes to the financial information collected in the annual return.

All registered charities with annual incomes of more than £10,000 and all charitable incorporated organisations must file their annual returns within 10 months of the end of their financial years.

Earlier this year, the commission announced a new annual return form that allowed charities to submit their accounts digitally.

Jane Adderley, head of first contact at the Charity Commission, said: "The annual return is a vital tool that allows us to regulate effectively. Making sure that we collect the right information, in the right way is a key part of this. Over the next two years, we hope the annual return will change and improve significantly and this is the first step.

"Making sure that these changes are made in the right way for charities, as well as the commission, is important and so we would encourage registered charities to respond."

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