Are exempt charities registered with the Charity Commission?

An exempt charity has charitable status and is required to comply with charity law, but unlike other charities it: cannot register with the Charity Commission (Commission)

Which charities are exempt from registration?

Exempt charities are largely institutions of further and higher education, universities, industrial and provident societies, friendly societies, or national museums, that were established by Act of Parliament or by Royal Charter. These organisations are specified in Schedule 3 to the Charities Act 2011.

Do all charities have to register with the Charity Commission?

All Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs) must register with the Charity Commission, regardless of their annual income. CIOs do not formally exist as charities until they are registered.

Does the Charity Commission regulate unregistered charities?

Small unregistered charities must comply with charity law and are subject to the Charity Commission’s regulatory powers, see Practice note, Charity Commission inquiries and regulatory casework: overview.

Have excepted or exempt status as defined by the Charity Commission?

Some charities are ‘excepted’ from charity registration. This just means they don’t have to register or submit annual returns. Apart from that, the Charity Commission regulates them just like registered charities and can use any of its powers if it needs to.

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Do exempt charities have a charity number?

An exempt charity cannot register with the Commission. An exempt charity must not: describe itself as a registered charity. use a registered charity number (even if it used to be registered)

Do churches have to register with the Charity Commission?

Most churches and other organisations wholly or mainly for public religious worship do not have to register with the Charity Commission, although the commission still regulates them.

Can you call yourself a charity if you are not registered?

If it has not been so registered then for the purposes of gift aid it may not be treated as a charity. It is therefore important that any charity in England and Wales claiming gift aid should be registered urgently with the CC if it should be registered and has not been.

Can you raise money for a non registered charity?

You can raise money even before you become a registered charity, so long as you make it clear that you are not yet registered. For example, you could raise money from the public by holding events or sponsored activities. Read the commission’s guidance about fundraising legally and responsibly before you start.

How quickly can you set up a charity?

Their published aim is to decide on an application for registration in an average of 40 days, but in our experience it can take considerably longer. In particular, if the Charity Commission has questions or concerns about the proposed activities of the charity, there may be a series of questions.

How do I contact the Charities Commission?

Help we provide

  1. call us: 0300 066 9197 Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.
  2. use our enquiry form.
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What is considered a small charity?

There is no one definition of ‘small’. The Small Charities Coalition for example defines small charities as those with an annual income under £1m making up 97% of all charities. However, for NCVO’s Almanac we define ‘micro’ and ‘small’ charities as those with an income under £10,000 and £100,000 respectively.

When should a charity register?

By law, if you set up a charity you must apply to register it with the commission if it is a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) or its annual income is more than £5,000, unless it is a specific type of charity that doesn’t have to register.

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