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The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
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Annual charity reporting to the Commission – first lessons learned

Charities need to become better acquainted with their reporting obligations and ensure that they are submitting the right information when making their Annual Return.

That’s the conclusion of Northern Ireland’s charity regulator in a report on Annual Return submissions by locally-based charities.

15% of charities failed their basic compliance checks for a number of reasons including:

  • The year end of the financial accounts submitted not matching the year end stipulated on the annual return
  • Charities failing to either provide their income and expenditure in the annual return
  • The information submitted not matching that on the actual accounts.

Annual Reporting will be undertaken this year by many of the charities that were registered with the Commission between 2013 and 2015. With over 5,000 charities currently on the register, with the final number expected to be between two and three times that, the number of charities completing a return will rise in the coming years.

Frances McCandless, Chief Executive at the Commission said: “This report highlights the problems charities are having when filing their returns. Annual reporting by registered charities is new but it is now a fact of life.

“A successfully filed set of accounts goes a long way in keeping a charity fully compliant and the public confident that charities are open, transparent and fulfilling their purpose.              

“In 2017/18, around 3,500 charities will be obliged to complete a return. Trustees of those charities, all of which were registered by the Commission between 2013 and 2016, need to get acquainted with this report now to ensure that they pass compliance checks when their accounts are filed.”

Read the report here.