Overview of Charity Regulation

The most common legal forms for charities and not for profit entities in the UK are trusts, charitable incorporated organisations (CIO), company limited by guarantee and unincorporated associations. Community Interest Companies (CIC) or a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) cannot be charities.

A social enterprise is a business that has social, environmental or community-based objectives and can have non-charitable purposes.

In each part of the UK all charities are regulated and subject to charities law, with three regulators and three sets of legislation

Accounting Compliance Framework for 2018-19
England & Wales Scotland Northern Ireland
Regulator Charity Commission CC Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator OSCR Charity Commission for Northern Ireland CCNI
Law Charities Act 2011 Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 Charities Act (Northern Ireland)2008 and 2013
Registration Annual Income greater than £5,000 unless excepted (and then when greater than £100,000) All Charities Register All Charities Register
SORP 2015 - Small Charities defined as: Gross Income of £500,000 or less as over as over
Receipts and Payments Reporting Non-Company Charities, including CIO's, with income of less then £250,000 as over as over
Income and Expenses Reporting Charitable Companies and all Non-Company Charities with income over £250,000 as over as over
Statutory accounts and report
  • income less than £25,000 - no report
  • income between £25,000 and £250,000 - independent examination
  • income between £250,000 and £1.0m and total assets less than £3.26m - independent examination by qualified person
  • all other cases - audit required
  • income less than £500,000 and total assets less than £3.26m - independent examination by qualified person
  • all other cases - audit required
For unincorporated preparing R&P the asset test is not applied.
  • income less than £250,000 - independent examination
  • income between £250,000 and £500,000 - independent examination by qualified person
  • all other cases - audit required
Charitable Companies Audit threshold
  • income not more than £10.2m
  • total assets not more than £5.1m
  • average employees not more than 50
must meet two of the three criteria
as over as over

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