Twelve per cent fewer charities late in filing accounts last year

The statistics are included in a document from the Charity Commission that focuses on the wider learning from the regulator's double-default class inquiry

Fewer late accounts
Fewer late accounts

The number of charities that were late in filing their annual documents fell by 12 per cent last year, the Charity Commission has said.

The regulator said today there were 12 per cent fewer charities with outstanding annual documents in March last year that at the same stage 12 months earlier.

The statistics are included in a report on the wider learning to be had from the commission’s double-default class inquiry, which covers charities that are in default of their annual report and accounts for two years or more. The statistics refer to any charities that have not submitted their accounts on time, rather than just the double-defaulters.

The commission was unable to provide the exact number of charities in default for the time period covered in the report, but a search of the Charity Commission’s register by Third Sector found that as of today 5,223 charities with incomes above £10,000 a year were in default of their accounts or annual returns.

The report says there has been a 20.5 per cent decrease in the number of in charities with incomes of more than £100,000 that are in default.

Of the 27 double-defaulters featured in the report, six charities closed and failed to tell the commission, six submitted accounts to Companies House and not the commission, and two failed to submit accounts with the correct external scrutiny.

The report says that 14 of the 32 charities placed in the 2015/16 class inquiry submitted their accounts to the commission during the year, as did 13 from the 2014/15 class inquiry.

The latest figures show that £75m of previously unreported charity income has been accounted for since September 2013.

Nigel Davies, head of accountancy services at the Charity Commission, said: "Our class inquiry has ensured compliance in the charity sector by holding trustees to account for failing to abide by their legal duty to file accounts and be transparent, a key driver of public trust in charities.

"It is disappointing that it required our regulatory action to ensure these charities complied. They showed the ability to report well when they put the effort in because the majority of the charities involved in the class inquiry eventually filed good-quality accounts.

"However, it is concerning that the underlying attitude to compliance with basic duties and accountability to donors and the public remains poor. This report sends a clear message to trustees that we will take robust action to tackle non-compliance so that charity funds are declared and accounted for on the register of charities."

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