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Charity annual return 2018

The Charity Commission has published guidance on how you can prepare for the 2018 annual return service, which will be available this summer.

The Charity Commission consulted with the charity sector last year about the annual return for 2018. Based on the outcome of this consultation they are introducing a tailored annual return later this summer. It will include some new questions that charities can start preparing for now. "We recognise that for some charities the new questions will create additional work, so we have made some questions voluntary this year to give you time to put in place the systems to collect the information more easily, requiring less effort in future years".

Income from outside the UK

To get a better understanding of income sources from outside of the UK, they are introducing questions about the breakdown of sources of income from each country a charity receives funds from. Some charities will need to make changes to their financial systems to collect and sort the information required more easily. These questions will be mandatory from 2019 onwards.

Overseas expenditure

They will build on the current annual return questions about charitable expenditure overseas, to establish how charities transfer and monitor funds sent overseas. This is because all money transfer processes bear risks, and it's important that charities take appropriate steps to manage these. The commission recognises that some charities will need to make changes to their record-keeping to answer parts of this question. For this reason the questions about methods of transferring money outside the regulated banking system, and about monitoring controls and risk management, will be voluntary for annual return 2018. These questions will be mandatory for the annual return 2019 onwards.

Salary and benefits in charities

Research into public trust and confidence in charities shows that the public is concerned about high levels of pay in charities. Because of this they will be asking charities to provide more information about salaries to increase accountability. In the annual return for 2018 they will ask for a breakdown of salaries across income bands, and the amount of total employee benefits for the highest paid member of staff.

But, in response to concerns raised during the consultation, they will not publish details of benefits given to the paid member of staff on the public register.

To find out when the new annual return system is available to use, sign up for email alerts for The Charity Commission to keep up-to-date with the latest information.

For more information, visit The Charity Commission website