Once your charity is registered, you are required to report annually to the Commission on your charity’s finances, resources and activities. This is known as “annual reporting” and is a legal requirement. If your charity is on the deemed list and has not yet been registered, you do not have to send information to the Commission.
Annual reporting by registered charities is a key element of the Commission's ongoing regulatory and monitoring work and is essential to keeping the register of charities up to date.
Through the annual reporting programme registered charities will be required to complete and submit an online annual monitoring return form, attaching the charity’s:
- trustees’ annual report
- report from independent examiner / auditor, as applicable.
The Commission makes copies of accounts and reports submitted by registered charities publicly available on each charity’s register entry.
Accounting and reporting guidance
New law, The Charities (Accounts and Reports) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015, relating to charity accounting and reporting commenced on 1 January 2016. This legislation applies to all registered charities and sets out:
- the form and content of charity accounts (receipts and payments or accruals accounts)
- the form and content of the trustees’ annual report
- the level of external scrutiny required, ie independent examination or audit.
All registered charities are required to comply with these regulations for each financial period beginning 1 January 2016 or their date of registration with the Commission, if later.
The Commission has produced a suite of guidance, available below, providing an introduction to, and overview of, these requirements for charities.
ARR01 Charity reporting and accounting overall summary
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ARR02 Charity reporting and accounting the essentials guidance
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ARR03 Receipts and payments accounts guidance
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ARR04 Accruals accounts guidance
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ARR05 Annual monitoring return guidance
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ARR07 Guidance for independent examiners
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Template examiners reports - supporting document for independent examiners
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ARR08 The trustees annual report and public benefit reporting
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Matters of Material Significance
Matters of Material Significance are those items which independent examiners and auditors must report to the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland should they encounter them while handling the accounts of a charity.
The below guidance was published in April 2017 in conjunction with the UK’s other charity regulators – the Charity Commission for England and Wales (CCEW) and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) – following a period of consultation.
The matters have been agreed by the three Charity Regulators and are effective for all audits or independent examinations which are conducted and/or reported after 1 May 2017 (regardless of the accounting period being examined).
The guidance provides a detailed explanation of what matters of material significance are and provides some further explanation of each of the matters.
Future updates to the guidance, or items for information, will be added to this page.
20170331 Matters Of Material Significance Guidance V1 0
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Interim reporting guidance
Prior to the commencement of the full regulations, an interim annual reporting programme was in place, covering the transitional period between the commencement of registration and the full annual reporting regulations.
This means that, while the full regulations did not commence until January 2016, the Commission had already started to receive – and publish – accounts and reports of registered charities.
If your charity was registered before 1 January 2016, and you are reporting on a financial period that began before that date, you can follow the interim requirements. Please note these are temporary arrangements that will apply to a limited number of charities for a short time only. Accounts prepared for all subsequent financial years beginning on or after 1 January must be in accordance with the full regulations.
The Commission has produced guidance, available below, providing an overview of the interim reporting requirements for charities.
ARR06 Charity reporting: Interim annual reporting arrangements
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