In December the government made public their intention to extend the Excepting Regulations for smaller charities by 10 years. The relevant legislation has now come into effect, so the deadline for registration is now 31 March 2031.
The Excepting Regulations mean that many smaller churches which are affiliated to the FIEC or another umbrella body are currently excepted from the requirement to register with the Charity Commission. The Commission had previously indicated that the Excepting Regulations would come to an end in March 2021, and all churches with an income of over £5,000 per annum would then need to register. However, the Commission’s limited capacity to deal with the volume of new registrations meant that the deadline had to be extended for another 10 years, but with the proviso that the Commission may introduce phased registration during that time.
The Government’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is working together with the Charity Commission on a plan to phase more organisations onto the register in a manageable way over the extension period. Further details on this are still awaited.
While the need to be prepared for registration is now less urgent, we would still advise all churches which are not currently registered with the Charity Commission to think about what steps they will need to take in order to get ready to register. More importantly, excepted churches are still required to comply with charity law and other legal obligations, such as ensuring they have sufficient numbers of managing trustees and are dealing properly with conflicts of interest. Ensuring that your governing documents are up to date will help to achieve this, as well as meaning you are more likely to be on track for charity registration in due course.
Take a look at our article – ‘Are you ready to register with the Charity Commission?’ – for more information.