Charity reporting: Interim arrangements and the annual return

Following a public consultation in autumn 2013, we have now published our guidance on Charity reporting: Interim arrangements and the annual monitoring return guidance, which is available below:

You can find out more about our public consultation, and view our consultation response report, on our Consultations page.

The Charity reporting: Interim arrangements and the annual monitoring return guidance provides information on annual reporting by charities registered with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, specifically:

  • the interim reporting arrangements
  • preparing for your annual monitoring return, a permanent requirement which will remain in place beyond the interim period.

The guidance explains who must report annually, the process you should follow, what will happen with the information you provide and the background to annual reporting in Northern Ireland during the interim period. It is intended to support you through the interim annual reporting process so that you do not necessarily require professional help.

When we refer to ‘registered’ charities we mean only those charities that have gone through the registration process with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, have been given an NIC (Northern Ireland charity) registration number and have been placed on the register of charities. If your charity is on the deemed list and has not yet been registered you do not have to send information to the Commission at the moment.

You may also be interested in viewing our list of frequently asked questions by visiting our Accounting and reporting FAQs webpage.

Interim reporting arrangements and the annual monitoring return

From 1 April 2014 all charities registered with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland fall under the interim reporting arrangements and by law must report to the Commission on their first full financial period after this date.

Charities are allowed ten months after their financial period end to gather annual reporting information, compile their accounts and reports, and submit these to the Commission. As a matter of good practice we would encourage charities to do this as soon as possible after their period end, rather than leaving this close to their reporting deadline.

Charity law relating to accounting and reporting has not yet been fully developed. The Department for Social Development (DSD) are responsible for developing the full accounting and reporting regulations which will specify the form and content of charity accounts, and the level of review or audit these accounts must have. They will also set out the content requirements for the trustee annual report.

In the absence of full accounting regulations, which are not due to be launched until 2015, the interim arrangements allow charity reporting to be introduced on a phased basis. This makes it easier for charities to get used to reporting while simultaneously allowing the Commission to carry out its monitoring and compliance work, and ensure the register of charities is up to date, in the interim period.

Under interim reporting arrangements registered charities must submit to the Commission:

1. an annual monitoring return which will ask questions on the charity’s activities, governances and finances

2. a copy of the charity accounts in the format they currently prepare them

3. a copy of the charity trustee annual report (if applicable)

4. a copy of the charity audit report (if applicable).

The key difference during the interim reporting period is that registered charities are permitted to submit their accounts and reports in the format they currently prepare them.

The annual monitoring return is a permanent aspect of annual reporting. This means that all registered charities must complete and submit an annual monitoring return under interim arrangements and when full accounting and reporting regulations come into effect. For further details on how to prepare for and complete your annual monitoring return see section 4 and 5 of the Charity reporting: Interim arrangements and the annual monitoring return.

Interim arrangements commence for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 April 2014 and will remain in place until full accounting and reporting regulations, developed by the Department for Social Development (DSD) are commenced. These are expected 1 January 2015.

At this stage, registered charities in Northern Ireland must prepare charity accounts and reports in accordance with the form, content and review requirements laid out in charity law, along with their annual monitoring return. DSD in conjunction with the Commission expect to consult upon the full accounting and reporting regulations later in 2014.

You can find out more about interim arrangements, including how you can prepare for your annual return, and view the accompanying glossary, using the links below:

You can also view our list of frequently asked questions by visiting our Accounting and reporting  FAQs webpage.

 

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