A Reminder from Companies House
If your charity is registered as a company with Companies House, and your year end is 31st March, your MUST file your company accounts with Companies House by 31st December
For other year end dates, the deadline is:
- 9 months from the accounting reference date for a private company
- 6 months from the accounting reference date for a public company
Please be aware of the definition of a period of months in connection with filing accounts. A period of months after a given date ends on the corresponding date in the appropriate month. For example a private company with an accounting reference date of 4 April has until midnight on 4 January of the following year to deliver its accounts, not 31 January. This does not apply if your accounting reference date is the last day of the month. In this case the period allowed for filing accounts would end with the last day of the appropriate month. For example a private company with an accounting reference date of 30 April has until midnight on 31 January of the following year to deliver its accounts, not 30 January.
If a filing deadline falls on a Sunday or Bank Holiday, the law still requires you to file the accounts by that date. To avoid a penalty, please ensure that you send acceptable accounts in time to arrive before the deadline.
It’s the date that you deliver acceptable accounts which meet the relevant legal requirements to Companies House that is important, not the date that you sent the accounts.
When you must claim
Your deadline to claim Gift Aid depends on how your charity is set up.
You need to claim for a donation within 4 years of the end of the financial period you received it in. This is:
- the tax year (6 April to 5 April) if you’re a trust
- your accounting period if your charity is a community amateur sports club (CASC), a Charity Incorporated Organisation (CIO) or a limited company
You must claim on cash donations under the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme within 2 years of the end of the tax year that the donations were collected in.
You need to keep records of these donations for a further two years
How to claim
You can claim Gift Aid using Charities Online with:
For claims of over 1,000 donations you must use software.
To apply by post use form ChR1, which you can get from the charities helpline.
When you’ll get paid
You’ll get a Gift Aid payment by BACS within:
- 4 weeks if you claimed online
- 5 weeks if you claimed by post using form ChR1
The company must first of all be removed from the Companies Register but only if it:
- hasn’t traded or sold off any stock in the last 3 months
- hasn’t changed names in the last 3 months
- isn’t threatened with liquidation
- has no agreements with creditors, eg a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA)
A company can apply to the registrar to be struck off the register and dissolved if it’s no longer needed, for example if:
- the directors wish to retire and there is no one to take over the running of the company
- the company is a subsidiary whose name is no longer needed
- the company was originally set up to exploit an idea that turned out not to be feasible
More details can be found here:
Once the company has been removed from the Companies House Register, it can be removed from the Register of Charities.
A charitable company has an automatic right to expend all of its assets on its purposes.
You can tell the Charity Commission that you have wound it up by completing the closure form. This can be done online – more details can be found here:
Pension wise is a free and impartial government service that helps you understand the options for your pension pot.
Pension Wise can help if you:
- are aged 50 or over
- have a personal or workplace pension
- want to make sense of your options
What is a Pension Wise appointment?
- Specialist pension guidance
- 45 to 60 minutes
- Over the phone or local to you
How to book an appointment?
More information can be found here
If you do not consult employees in a redundancy situation, any redundancies you make will almost certainly be unfair and you could be taken to an employment tribunal.
Follow these steps:
- You must notify the Redundancy Payments Service (RPS) before a consultation starts. The deadline depends on the number of proposed redundancies.
- Consult with trade union representatives or elected employee representatives – or with staff directly if there are none.
- Provide information to representatives or staff about the planned redundancies, giving representatives or staff enough time to consider them.
- Respond to any requests for further information.
- Give any affected staff termination notices showing the agreed leaving date.
- Issue redundancy notices once the consultation is complete.
More detailed information can be found here
Sick leave and holiday
Statutory holiday entitlement is built up (accrued) while an employee is off work sick (no matter how long they’re off).
Any statutory holiday entitlement that isn’t used because of illness can be carried over into the next leave year. If an employee is ill just before or during their holiday, they can take it as sick leave instead.
An employee can ask to take their paid holiday for the time they’re off work sick. They might do this if they don’t qualify for sick pay, for example. Any rules relating to sick leave will still apply.
Employers can’t force employees to take annual leave when they’re eligible for sick leave.
When an employee changes their holiday to sick leave they’re paid Statutory Sick Pay which will count towards the amount of holiday pay they’ve received. The exceptions to this rule are:
- they don’t qualify for Statutory Sick Pay
- they were off work sick and being paid ‘occupational sick pay’
What Are Reserves?
Reserves are that part of a charity’s unrestricted funds that is freely available to spend on any of the charity’s purposes. This definition excludes restricted income funds and endowment funds, although holding such funds may influence a charity’s reserves policy. Reserves will also normally exclude tangible fixed assets such as land, buildings and other assets held for the charity’s use. It also excludes amounts designated for essential future spending.
Reserves also exclude funds which have particular restrictions on how they can be used. Trustees should consider for what purpose restricted funds are held and how they are being used in order to identify those resources that are freely available to spend.
You can find out much more about Reserves here
Your charity’s objects or purposes, and the rules for how it should operate are set out in its Governing Document.
Only change your governing document if it’s in your charity’s best interest to do so. For example, if:
- your charity’s purposes aren’t a practical or appropriate way to meet the need it was set up for any more
- your governing document doesn’t say who your charity’s trustees are or how they are appointed
- provisions explaining how you must run the charity (for example, how to arrange meetings) are no longer relevant or practical
As trustees, you’ll need to decide that the change is necessary and what it should be. You can make some changes yourself but others need Charity Commission permission.
More detailed information can be found here
There are 6 steps to setting up a charity.
- Find trustees for your charity – you usually need at least 3.
- Make sure the charity has ‘charitable purposes for the public benefit’.
- Choose a name for your charity.
- Choose a structure for your charity.
- Create a ‘governing document’.
- Register as a charity if your annual income is over £5,000 or if you set up a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO).
More information can be found here
About Charity Trustees’ Annual Reports
Your trustees’ annual report helps people understand what your charity does, particularly potential funders and beneficiaries.
You need to write a trustees’ annual report if your charity is registered in England or Wales. Along with your accounts, the report tells people:
- about your charity’s work
- where your money comes from
- how you’ve spent your money in the past year
More information and examples of Trustees’ Reports can be found here