Accounting rules for charities
Accounting rules for charities

The following Private Client guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Accounting rules for charities
  • Reporting
  • Demonstrating public benefit
  • Preparing charity accounts
  • Accounts
  • External scrutiny of accounts
  • Scrutiny
  • Retention of accounting records

Much of the information reported in a charity's accounts and filed with the Charity Commission is accessible on the Commission's public register of charities. Bank account details and the trustees' addresses, telephone numbers and dates of birth are not made available to the public.


Links to example forms can be found on the Charity Commission website as well as an annual return template and guidance for its completion.

Charities with income of under £5,000 are not generally required to register with the Charity Commission. The exception is CIOs, which are registered with the Commission regardless of annual income. There are no specific reporting requirements for trustees of unregistered charities.

The trustees of a registered charity must prepare an annual report and accounts and make copies available to the public on request. The requirement to prepare accounts and an annual report also applies to trustees of charities with income under £5,000 who have registered voluntarily.

There is a legal obligation on the trustees of all registered charities to keep the charity's details up to date on the Charity Commission's public register . Any changes to the charity's details must be recorded in either an Annual Update form (for charities with income up to £10,000) or Part A of the Annual Return (for those with income over £10,000 and up to £25,000).