Charity registration and requirements
If your group has charitable aims and an income over £5000 per year, then the law says you are required to register with the Charity Commission. This section gives information on how to check whether your aims are charitable (this is defined in law), how to register as a charity, and what registered charities have to do.
Click the Links tab for details of other organisations and websites with useful information in this area.
This guide summarises the requirement for charities to produce accounts, reports and returns each year.
Getting your group’s accounts independently examined: what it means, why you might want to do it, and how to go about it.
This sheet is intended as a quick and easy summary of the responsibilities of relatively small registered charities. It is aimed at unincorporated charities and Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs) which have an income below £250,000 and are not Limited Companies.
This information sheet aims to give some guidance as to whether your group should register as a charity. It is intended mainly for smaller community groups although the information is equally relevant to larger organisations in the voluntary sector. If you are setting up a new group with the aim of registering as a charity, this sheet should help you to begin the process.
These books are available at the Resource Centre, for reference only. If you prefer to borrow them, some of the titles are available at local libraries in Brighton & Hove. Groups based in Sussex are welcome to come in and browse our bookshelf and noticeboards.
- A practical guide to charity accounting: Preparing Charity SORP accounts
- Charitable status: a practical handbook
- Charities - The New Law 2006
- Charities Act 2006 - What trustees need to know
- Charities and Public Benefit
- Charity commission information booklets on charity accounting
- Charity essentials (for Pre-schools)
- Community Matters: Reference Manual for Community Organisations Advisers
- Simply Governance: A comprehensive guide to understanding the systems & processes concerned with the running of a sustainable community enterprise
- SORP made simple
- Voluntary Sector Legal Handbook
The services listed below are not provided by the Resource Centre. These are websites and services we feel are particularly useful for small groups in Brighton & Hove, and which are not easy to find by searching the internet.
Most useful services for local groups
Help with developing constitutions and sample constitutions, Information on charities and charity law, Information on insurance, Information on legal structures, Information on managing money, Information on running a group, Information on running childrens groups, Information on setting up a company, Risk Assessment (Financial and Organisational)
Very comprehensive website with information how to set up a charity, legal guidance, and a database of all registered charities. Also has specialist guidance section specifically aimed at small groups wanting to become charities.
The Charity Commission is now part of the GOV.uk site, which can make it difficult to search for the information you need. They advise you to:
- always include 'charity commission' in your search terms, eg 'report serious incident charity commission'
- enter your search term, then select 'Charity Commission' from the drop down list of 'Organisations' on the search results page
Some specific guidance you may find useful:
- Information on the regulations about accounts and reporting for registered charities
- Guidance on the forms of insurance available to charity trustees, highlighting the importance of risk assessment
- Model governing documents for charities, including unincorporated associations and small charities
- Guidance about trustee conflicts of interest, including employing trustees