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Friday, January 29th, 2016

Legal update: charity accounts and reporting

The following update has come from Sandy Adirondack on charity accounts and reporting (Jan 2016).


Nearly all UK charities’ annual reports, and many charities’ annual accounts, have to comply with the statement of recommended practice for charity accounts (charities SORP). For financial years starting before 1 January 2015 the 2005 SORP applied. For financial years starting in 2015 (i.e. the annual accounts and reports you will be producing in 2016) some charities have to comply with a new FRS 102 SORP and some have a choice between the FRS 102 SORP and a FRSSE SORP. And for financial years starting in 2016 it will be the FRS 102 SORP for all. Three changes in three years! Nightmare!

Increase in audit threshold

The government’s consultation on a proposed increase in the income level at which charities would require a full audit (rather than being able to have an independent examination instead) said it would come into effect for financial years ending on or after 6 April 2015, so wouldn’t have applied to financial years ending on 31 March 2015. Then, while I must have been dozing last February, they went and changed it to apply to financial years ending on or after 31 March 2015! So I should have sent you this update nearly a year ago … but better late than never. At least no one will have got in trouble for not knowing about this, but if your financial year ended last March and your 2014-15 income was between £500,000 and £1 million, and like me you didn’t twig what had happened, you would perhaps unnecessarily have paid for a full audit when you could have had an independent examination. Sorry.

Also – for financial years starting on or after 1 January 2016, a new requirement for independent examination or audit for all registered charities in Northern Ireland.

Changes to 2016 charity annual return

Minor changes in England and Wales. Maybe some in Scotland. A new online system in Northern Ireland.

Filing charity accounts, reports and returns

Rather late to remind you, but if you’re amongst the 50% of charities whose financial year ends on 31 March, your annual accounts and returns are due to the Charity Commission for England and Wales and Charity Commission for Northern Ireland on Sunday 31 January. For Scotland they should have been in on 31 December.

You can find more on Sandy Adirondack’s website: