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The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
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31 January – an important annual reporting date  

As a result of the February 2020 Court of Appeal judgment, there is no legal requirement for charities registered prior to the end of May 2019 to file annual reporting information with the Commission.
A permanent solution is being progressed in order to resolve this issue. In the meantime, charities are encouraged to file their annual monitoring return with the Commission where possible, as preparing and submitting accounts and reports in accordance with the regulations is a matter of good practice.
This is particularly important for charities that currently prepare accruals accounts or fall within the audit threshold, as any subsequent accounts will require prior year comparatives and an audit of opening balances.
“We would strongly encourage charities to continue submitting their accounts and reports to the Commission, where they can,” said Rossa Keown, Head of Compliance and Enquiries at the Commission.
“Despite there being no legal requirement, and the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, over 3,700 charity accounts and reports were voluntarily submitted to the Commission during 2020-21,” he continued.
“It was great to see so many charities taking the opportunity to continue filing, demonstrating a commitment to openness and transparency as well as building up a catalogue of information on the register of charities.”
“Of those 3,778 charities, 50% filed their information with the Commission within ten months of their financial year end – and with 31 March marking the end of the financial year for many charities, that makes 31 January a significant annual reporting date.”
For those charities registered with the Commission following May 2019, the charity accounting and reporting obligations apply. You must submit your annual monitoring return form online, attach your charity’s accounts and reports and submit these to the Commission within 10 months of your charity’s financial year end date. As you will be reporting to the Commission for the first time, we would encourage you to use the extensive range of guidance available on the Commission’s website to help you with your first submission, including a short video tutorial Practical guidance on how to complete the annual monitoring return online
By the end of March 2021, the number of charity accounts and reports for multiple years submitted to the Commission under annual reporting equated to over £7.5 billion of charitable income accounted for through the register.