More than 70 charities that have failed to submit their annual accounts for two or more of the past five years are receiving final warnings that they will be brought into the Charity Commission’s double defaulters inquiry unless they file by a designated date.
The 72 charities, all of which have most recently recorded annual incomes of more than £250,000, have previously been contacted by the commission about their non-compliance.
Their potential inclusion in the inquiry was announced in April. The inquiry into double defaulting charities was launched in September 2013, focusing on charities with a last recorded income of more than £500,000. A second phase, looking at charities with a last known income of £250,000-£500,000, began in November.
Failure to submit annual documents to the commission when required is a criminal offence, which the regulator says amounts to mismanagement and/or misconduct in the administration of a charity.
The charities included in the inquiry consist of those that have submitted an annual return but failed to submit a Trustees’ Annual Report and accounts and vice versa.
According to the commission, the inquiry has so far led to more than £29 million being accounted for in charity accounts posted on its public register of charities.
Michelle Russell, head of investigations and enforcement at the commission, said: “It is unacceptable that some charities still do not take seriously their accountability to the public and responsibility to comply by submitting annual accounts and returns when required to do so by law.
“Failure to submit accounts and returns on time reflects badly on the charity as well as the wider sector. We are continuing this year to robustly pursue defaulters and late filers. Defaulting charities and their trustees have been warned.
“The message for all charities is simple. It’s your legal duty, you are accountable to the public and your donors; play your part in maintaining trust in the sector – get your accounts in – be early, not late.”
Seeking professional advice and expertise can be a sensible step for charities of all sizes to ensure they meet Charity Commission deadlines. For more information on how the charities team at Nicklin can help, please contact us.