Charity Commission removes almost 1,000 charities in 'register cleanse'

In a move begun on 1 January, the regulator has removed 988 charities that were either inactive or had failed to file their annual returns

Regulator cleans up register

Almost 1,000 charities that are either inactive or have failed to file their annual returns have been removed from the Charity Commission’s register this month as part of a "register cleanse".

Between 1 January and today, 988 were removed from the register; in the same period, 525 new charities have been registered.

Removals this month included the Aberystwyth and District Boxing Club, the Inner Wheel Club Of Nuneaton Benevolent Fund and the Joe Strummer Foundation for New Music.

In an average month, the number of new registrations tends to exceed the number of removals by about 10 per cent. In 2014, there were 4,863 registrations and 4,332 removals.

A spokeswoman for the commission said the charities being removed were those that had failed to file their annual documents for one or more years.

She said: "The reason for the larger number of removals is that we have been doing a ‘register cleanse’ as part of our work on single and double-defaulting charities."

She said this was the first such cleanse of inactive charities the regulator had embarked on. "We’ve focused on those that are charities and companies," she said. "We’ve checked which companies have come off the Companies House register, then removed them as inactive charities."

The spokeswoman said that a charitable company removed from the register in the cleanse might also need to consider re-registering at Companies House.

"Charities can be reinstated, but decisions would need to be made on which governance structure they can adopt," she said. "If they want to remain as a company, they will first need to re-register with Companies House."

Some charities that are taken off the register because the regulator believes they are no longer operating are later reinstated after their trustees become aware of the removal.

One example is the Magic Circle Benevolent Fund, which benefits past and present members of the magicians organisation and their families. It was removed on 9 September 2014 after it had failed to submit its annual return for the financial year ending 31 March 2013, which was due by 31 January 2014.

But after submitting both this document and its annual return for the year to 31 March 2014, on Christmas Eve last year, it was returned to the register.

In this case, however, the charity was never registered at Companies House.

There are 180,000 charities on the register, of which 16,000 are linked charities – these do not report their financial results in their own right because they are included within the reports of the main charity to which they are linked.

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