Accountancy aspects of Charities


Voluntary and Charity Sector

R. H. Jeffs & Rowe has extensive experience of dealing with the accounting, financial and tax aspects of running a charity.

We have helped many charities at different stages of development, from inception through growth to maturity. Partners of the firm also act as Trustee and Treasurers for charities in a personal capacity, so we understand the issues a charity’s management committee faces in running its operations.

The administration, governance and accounting requirements of a registered charity became a lot more prescribed with the introduction of the Charities Act 2011 and the SORP 2015.

We have established an expertise in charity accounting and we currently act for registered charities in all sectors:

  • Cancer Care
  • Sporting Trust
  • Citizen’s Advice Centre
  • Community Support Enterprise
  • Drug Aid
  • Support for the Deaf
  • Independent School
  • Branches of national charities
  • Numerous good causes, small local charities, set up for a specific purpose.

The laws governing the operations of charities are complex and the advice given on this website is general in nature.

Legal structure

All charities in England and Wales are awarded their status, and are regulated, by the Charity Commission. We recommend the starting point for those thinking of setting up a charity is to visit their website to understand the commitments required by this body – www.charity-commission.gov.uk

Once you have decided to form a Charity there is a range of legal entities you can choose to adopt, as well as various management structures.

We can advise our clients on the most suitable legal entity for their operations, whether it be as a charitable company, unincorporated charitable trust, or charitable company with trading subsidiary.

Tax and VAT

Registering as a charity does not automatically mean that an entity is exempt from tax; tax can be chargeable if a charity’s activities are deemed to be trading activities. The Charity may also need to register for VAT and we can assist in helping to identify the activities which may be subject to VAT and the partial exemption calculation. Tax issues for charities can be complex and our experience in the field means we can advise on finding the route that optimises income retention.

One common structure for charities is to establish a charitable holding entity with a trading subsidiary. The subsidiary then gifts its trading profits to the charity. We can help establish this structure and advice on which activities should be in which entity to maximise tax and VAT.

We can also help with:

  • Tax repayment claims
  • Gift aid schemes so that the charity can reclaim tax on donations from individuals
  • Negotiations with H M Revenue & Customs on the partial exemption calculation and activities subject to VAT

Financial reporting

This format of accounts and reports for charities is very different from reporting for other entities. This is a complex area and the regulations change frequently a new SORP has been introduced.

We keep ourselves fully aware of all reporting regulations affecting charities, and weproduce accounts in full accordance with the Charities Act and the Statement of Recommended Practice 2005 – Accounting for Charities.

We keep ourselves fully aware of all reporting regulations affecting charities, and we produce accounts in full accordance with the Charities Act and the Charities SORP.

Auditing

As Chartered Accountants and Registered Auditors, we are able to verify the accounts of charities of all sizes and types and are able to provide assurance by means of an independent accountants report or a full audit report.

See our section ‘Audit & Assurance services’ for more details on our auditing services.

Services

We find that the services that our charity clients are most interested in include:

  • Advice on operating structure:– Unincorporated Trust
    Preparing statutory accounts, including accounting advice in relation to the SORP
  • Assurance on these accounts:– Independent Examination
    – Audit
    – Specific fund or trust audit and assurance reports
  • Advising on the designing the accounting system to help with the allocation of income and costs
  • Setting up a trading subsidiary to preserve the beneficial tax status of the parent charity
  • Advising on the most appropriate and VAT-efficient partial exemption scheme that should be used
  • Payroll services
  • Tax reclaim for Gift Aid and Investment income
  • Attendance at Annual General Meeting