You cannot change your charity’s financial year or period if your latest annual return and accounts (if required) are overdue.
Rules for charities that are not companies
If your charity is a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) or unincorporated (not a company) you can change the financial year or period to run for more or less than 12 months.
It needs to be a minimum of 6 months, and no longer than 18 months.
You can only:
- change the dates for your current financial year
- make a change once every 3 years
Changing your financial year or period will also change your deadline for filing the annual return and accounts.
Rules for charities that are companies
If your charity is incorporated (a company) you can shorten your financial year or period as often as you’d like.
The minimum period you can shorten it to is 1 day.
You can lengthen your company’s financial year to a maximum of 18 months, but this can only be done once every 5 financial periods.
Rules for newly registered charities
If your charity is newly registered, and you have not submitted an annual return you will need to request permission to change your financial year.
To sign in and change your financial year you will need your:
This password gives people in your charity access to detailed information about your charity and individuals connected with it.
When giving access to this password you need to have measures in place to make sure the system is only used for proper purposes, and that the information accessed through the Commission’s services will be treated carefully and sensitively and in accordance with legal requirements including the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
Read the privacy notice before you use the service.
If you are an employer running payroll, you need to:
- report to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on the previous tax year (which ends on 5 April) and give your employees a P60
- prepare for the new tax year, which starts on 6 April
Update employee payroll records
For each employee working for you on 6 April, you’ll need to:
- prepare a payroll record
- identify the correct tax code to use in the new tax year (The most common tax code for tax year 2021 to 2022 is 1257L. You can find out more about tax codes here)
- enter their tax code in your payroll software
You should include in your payroll:
- all employees you pay in the tax year, no matter how much you pay them
- any employee who has worked for you in the current tax year (since 6 April) even if they have already left
Trustees or charity officers contact the Charity Commission for different reasons. These include applying to register a charity, updating the recorded details of a charity or using one of the electronic forms to apply for a service. When you contact the commission, it expects you to always:
- prepare carefully – this includes reading relevant commission guidance, ensuring you have all the information you need before contacting the commission and being clear what it is you want or need from the commission
- provide information which is true, complete and correct
When the Charity Commission contacts you, it needs to be confident that its regulatory concerns have been fully addressed. This means the commission expects you to:
- fully cooperate with it
- provide full, frank and honest answers to its questions
- provide information or documents it has asked for by the date specified
This will help ensure the commission’s engagement with your charity is completed as soon as possible.
Sometimes the commission may decide to check some of the information you have given it with other people or organisations, or it may ask for evidence to prove what you are telling it is correct. This is standard practice.
If you cannot meet a deadline the commission has set, you must let it know immediately and before the deadline expires. You must also ensure that you answer the commission’s questions fully and honestly. This means you should not provide limited or partial responses.
- do not cooperate with the commission
- do not provide information the commission has requested, or
- provide partial, inadequate or no response
the commission is likely to conclude that the regulatory concerns are not resolved or allayed. If you do not provide the information requested, or provide limited, partial or inadequate responses the commission will often consider this a regulatory concern in itself. This may result in it deciding to take stronger regulatory action.
The courts have made clear that they expect trustees to cooperate with the regulator.
The commission will consider non-cooperation as evidence of mismanagement or misconduct, which is a matter the commission takes seriously.
It is a criminal offence under section 60 of the Charities Act 2011 for anyone to knowingly or recklessly provide false or misleading information to the commission. This includes suppressing, concealing or destroying documents.