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Charity law

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The legal obligations of charities under the Charities Acts and the Companies Acts

All charities must comply with:

  1. the Charities Act 2011, which replaced most of the Charities Act 2006 and Charities Act 1992.
  2. the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016, which strengthens the powers of the Charity Commission.
  3. the Trustees Acts 1925, 2000: the most recent Act concerns the powers of trustees regarding investments and delegation.
  4. Charity Commission regulation. The Commission has a full list of guidance that explains what charites ‘must’ and 'should' do. 'Must' means something is a legal or regulatory requirement or duty that trustees must comply with. 'Should’ means something is good practice that the commission expects trustees to follow and apply to their charity or be able to explain why not. 
  5. the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) for charity accounting: published by the Charity Commission and requires compliance (depending on annual income) on the submission of annual returns, reports and accounts.
  6. laws on trading, political activities and fundraising
  7. your governing document

Charitable companies

In addition to the above, charitable companies (those incorporated as a company limited by guarantee) must comply with provisions in the Companies Acts 1985, 1989, 2006. Additional requirements include filing details of trustees as directors at Companies House.

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Page last edited Oct 07, 2019

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