Charity Registration Service
If you are involved in or wish to set up a not for profit organization with aims that are charitable in nature, you may wish to consider registering as a charity in order to benefit from a charity’s improved tax status.
To be a charity, an organization must be established for exclusively charitable purposes. Charitable purposes are those that fall within the description of purposes capable of being charitable set out in the Charities Act 2011 and are for the public benefit.
Charities in England and Wales are regulated by the Charity Commission. Not all charities can be registered with the Charity Commission. Some charities are exempt or excepted from registration; others are too small (a gross annual income of less than £5,000). Legal Clarity can advise you of your suitability for registration.
The registration process can be complicated but with clear guidance, It can be achieved in as short a time as possible by supplying all the information that the Charity Commission requires at the outset.
What does our package include?
- Detailed Consultation – with one of our solicitors to provide advice and to take detailed instructions.
- Completion of all necessary forms.
- Guidance through the registration process including help with any additional enquiries that may be raised by the Charities Commission.
- Further guidance for members of your new charitable company, if needed.
CHARITY REGISTRATION SERVICE
A charity can also be a limited company but these are examined in detail by the Charity Commission to ensure that the Articles of Association (the constitution of the company) comply with their requirements. In order to avoid any delays it is easier to form such a company with a set of Articles of Association in a form approved by the Charity Commission and, if required, Legal Clarity can help by forming such a company for you.
Every charity needs a governing document which sets out the charity’s purposes, how its income can be spent and how it is run. There are three main types of governing document: constitution or rules; trust deed; and articles of association.
The type of governing document required will depend on the type of entity you choose for your organisation. The three main types are: unincorporated association; trust; and company limited by guarantee.
Legal Clarity can help you choose the most suitable form of entity for your organisation and can draft the appropriate governing document. If you choose a company limited by guarantee, we can form this for you for an additional fee.
What extra duties does being a charity impose?
As a charity there are certain additional duties that an organisation has to comply with, including the following:
- A charity must restrict the activities that it carries out to the charitable purposes set out in its governing document. Charities are not permitted to trade but can carry out trading activities through a subsidiary company which does not have charitable status. Any profits made by the trading subsidiary can then be passed up to the charity using corporate Gift Aid.
- No trustee of a charity may benefit personally from being a trustee. Trustees are volunteers and give their time freely for the benefit of others. This means that, generally, a charity may not employ or pay any salaries to its trustees.
- All charities must file an annual report and an annual return with the Charity Commission.
- All charities in England and Wales are regulated by the Charity Commission who may investigate it if there is any suspected wrongdoing. Trustees can, in certain circumstances, be personally liable for any debts or liabilities that the charity suffers as a result
What advantages does charitable status give me?
There are a number of benefits associated with registering your organisation as a charity, including the following:
- The confidence of the public in the ability of your organisation to represent and help the needs of the community in accordance with charity law.
- You are likely to find it easier to raise funds and may be eligible for grants from local or central government, the European Union or other charitable organisations which support your charitable purposes.
- You will be able to seek advice and assistance directly from the Charity Commission who will help with any problems you may have.
- There are many tax advantages to being registered as a charity, including reliefs from income tax, capital gains tax, corporation tax, inheritance tax on gifts to charities and stamp duty land tax. Business rate relief may also be available. Legal Clarity does not advise on taxation matters but your accountant or other tax adviser will be able to assist you here.