Charity Commission annual return for 2023

The Charity Commission annual return for 2023 applies to all returns for financial statements starting from 1 January 2023.

What’s changing

The effect is detailed below – 10 additional compulsory questions for all charities; and up to 13 extra in total depending on your charity type. 6 questions will be removed in 2024 so that the maximum number of questions will decrease to 43 for the 2024 and 2025 years.

Existing Annual Return  New Annual Return       
Maximum number of questions   36  49
Annual baseline – the core questions that would be answered by all respondents   16 26
Sub-questions, responded to only by respondents with relevant operations or data 20 23


An overview of what the new questions are focused on is as follows:

Income:  All charities, including those with income under £500,000, need to record their total income analysed by donations and legacies; charitable activities, other trading and investment income. Furthermore charities with income over £100,000 need to disclose the highest donation amount received from a corporate donor and also from an individual donor and if these are from related parties.

Trustee payments: New question on any payments to trustees regardless of whether it’s in their role as Trustee or a connected entity or for payments for goods or services.  Out of pocket expenses are excluded.

Grant Makers: Disclosure of the value of grants made to the categories of individuals, other charities and non-charities; and disclose details of grants made to related parties.

Overseas charities: Many new questions in this area and additional disclosures over both funds received and spent. Will need to confirm how any income outside of the UK is received from abroad, whether any charitable services were provided outside of the UK or if funds were spent outside of the UK.

In particular for overseas expenditure to disclose the total spend per country and how this was remitted to nearest £100 not using regulated banking services and in such circumstances what methods were used. For overseas income similarly for each country disclosure of the value of income received in the categories: governments or quasi-government bodies (including the European Union); charities, non-government organisations or Not For Profits; private companies and individual donors resident outside of the UK.

Premises: Confirmation that the public address on record is correct and if this is the charity’s headquarters or otherwise disclose this address.

Staff: New questions being asked. Requirement to disclose at the balance sheet date how many people were permanently employed; were on fixed-term contracts and how many were self-employed; and of these to disclose how many work outside the UK. Disclosure of estimated number of volunteers who carried out charitable activities in the UK during the year and if appropriate DBS checks were undertaken for all roles that are eligible for them.

Structure and governance:  There is a question of whether the charity is a member of a wider group as a parent or subsidiary. New question on whether members, other than Trustees are allowed to vote under the governing document.  A new question which specifically asks a charity to confirm from a list which policies and procedures are in place at the balance sheet date which covers basic financial policies and procedures as follows:

  1. internal charity financial controls policy and procedures
  2. safeguarding policy and procedures
  3. financial reserves policy and procedures
  4. complaint’s policy and procedures
  5. serious incident reporting policy and procedures
  6. internal risk management policy and procedures
  7. trustee expenses policy and procedures
  8. trustee conflicts of interest policy and procedures
  9. investing charity funds policy and procedures
  10. campaigns and political activity policy and procedures
  11. bullying and harassment policy and procedures
  12. social media policy and procedures
  13. engaging external speakers at charity events policy and procedures

This article was written by Helena Wilkinson; if you would like to discuss any of the issues raised above, please contact Helena using the form below.

We always recommend that you seek advice from a suitably qualified adviser before taking any action. The information in this article only serves as a guide and no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of this material can be accepted by the authors or the firm.

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