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Charity trustees “too relaxed about legal duties” to file online accounts

The Charity Commission’s Chief Executive, Sam Younger suggests that the regulator needs to “toughen up its message” on late filing, as 35% of late-filing accounts were signed before the charities’ respective filing deadlines – indicating that charities were simply not filing the information online and on time with the regulator.

In his presentation Sam Younger also reveals that 23% of defaulting charities with incomes of over £250,000 had filed their accounts late for all of the previous five financial years, and only around a quarter of the late-filing charities had never previously defaulted on their reporting requirements – suggesting that many charities are “repeat offenders” and that failing to file accounts online and on time was a “habitual problem”. The research also found that 39% of late filers that were companies had filed their accounts on time with Companies House.

Other findings were that over half of smaller and a quarter of larger late filers submitted accounts classed as “poor” (not SORP compliant, missing important sections such as the Trustees’ Annual Report, or were simple Receipts and Payments Accounts, despite the charity in question being over the £250,000 threshold for submitting full accruals accounts), and 53% of all registered charities leave filing their online Annual Return to the last 4 weeks before their deadline.

(A full report of the panel debate on whether charities “deserve the trust they enjoy” will be available on the Charity Commission’s website shortly.)



Date: 27th September, 2012
Author: Wendy Bambrick


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