Regulator to fine late accounts

The Charity Commission is working closely with the Home Office to develop proposals to fine charities which fail to submit their accounts on time.

Options to be considered by ministers will follow, and primary legislation could accompany the Home Office Bill expected in 2003/4 to implement the Government's Strategy Unit review of charity law and regulation.

The move comes in response to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on the Charity Commission published in July. The report urged the commission to "pursue those charities which fail to submit annual returns or accounts by the due date".

It recommended that fines be levied on trustees and licences for street collection be withheld.

In its response to the PAC report, the Commission said that "measures to link charities' entitlement to raise funds, or other financial advantages, to prompt submission merit serious consideration."

The Commission's director of operations, Simon Gillespie, told Third Sector: "Given the constraints on parliamentary time, any legislative options for change in this area will be wrapped up with any new legislation that is finally recommended following the Strategy Unit report consultation."

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