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Filing charity annual returns during the Covid-19 pandemic

According to Civil Society News, around 2,300 charities have asked the Charity Commission to extend their deadline for submitting annual return documents due to the Covid-19 pandemic.*

Data shared with the specialist online news service showed the Commission has approved 91% of these requests, which is approximately 2,100 charities.

In March the Commission said any charity that needs an extension to their annual return deadline should get in contact to ask for one and that it will continue to take a flexible approach to regulation during this period. 

If a charity has all the annual returns information available, then the Commission recommends that it should still submit its documents on time. It says it will accept requests for extensions as long as the charity has not already missed its filing deadline when asking for the extension.

Those who need to request an extension can do so by emailing the Commission at filingextension@charitycommission.gov.uk and including their charity name and registration number.

Whilst we welcome this flexibility and support from the Commission, we would encourage charity trustees to attempt to submit their annual accounts and annual returns on time. Initially we were seeing accounts and annual returns showing as late on the Commission’s website even though an extension had been granted. The Commission’s website has now been updated and it would seem that in cases where the accounts and annual return are filed under the terms of an agreed extension, the filing history (including access to the accounts) is not visible.  This might have an adverse impact on funding and the charity’s credit rating.

If you have any questions about filing your annual returns, please get in touch with our charities team.

*civilsociety.co.uk

Charity Newsletter Winter 2020

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