Leather hits out at the late-filers

Charity Commission chair Dame Suzi Leather has criticised charities that file their accounts late and called for the regulator's target on this to be raised.

The current aim is for 75 per cent of charities to file within 10 months of the end of their financial years. About 73 per cent of charities file their accounts on time.

"If a charity can't be bothered to get its accounts in within 10 months, why should people trust anything else it does?" she said at the commission's open board meeting last week. "Why should it get the benefit of charitable status?"

Andrew Hind, chief executive of the commission, told the same meeting that the regulator lacked the sanctions to achieve levels of compliance similar to those of Companies House. Its pleas to be given the right to fine late-filers had fallen on deaf ears, he said: "We are doing it with one hand tied behind our back. But none of us is pretending current rates are good enough."

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