The Charities (Annual Return) Regulations 2017

Corporate and Commercial / 18 January 2018

Following a consultation opened by the Charity Commission towards the end of 2017, on 1 January 2018, The Charities (Annual Return) Regulations 2017 came into force.

They set out the formal requirements for Annual Returns to be submitted by charities for financial years starting in 2018 onwards.

All charities registered in England and Wales with the Charity Commission with an annual income exceeding £10,000 and all charitable incorporated organisations are required to file an

Annual Return with the Charity Commission within 10 months from the end of their financial year.

The new Annual Return will ask charities questions on the following matters:

  • professional fundraisers;
  • contracts and grants the charity receives from central or local government;
  • income received from outside the UK (parts of this question relating to private institutions and individual donors outside the UK will be voluntary for the financial year starting in 2018, but mandatory for subsequent financial years);
  • employees receiving total employee benefits worth £60,000 or more and the value of the total employee benefits paid to its highest paid employee;
  • receipt by charity trustees of any remuneration or other (direct or indirect) benefits;
  • expenditure in countries outside England and Wales (parts of this question relating to how money is transferred and risk management will be voluntary for the 2018 financial year but mandatory for subsequent financial years);
  • trading subsidiaries and whether any of the charity’s trustees are also directors of any such subsidiaries;
  • safeguarding, if the charity is not regulated by another regulator in relation to safeguarding children and/or vulnerable adults.

Many (but not all) of these matters will be published on the charity’s public register page but some questions are asked simply to enable the Charity Commission to better target its guidance.

The Charity Commission suggests that the new Annual Return should mean that charities do not have as many questions to answer as they have had in previous years. However, there will be more detail required to answer the new questions.

As a result, some charities will inevitably find the new Annual Returns more burdensome and should, therefore, ensure they have systems in place to collate the information required easily.


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This update is for general purposes and guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should seek legal advice before relying on its content. This update relates to the prevailing circumstances at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments. If you have general queries about our updates, please email:

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