Charity Commission CEO, Helen Stephenson, has commented in Third Sector on key changes for charities this year – including the changes to the Annual Return and the introduction of the 'My Charity Commission Account' service.

As covered in a previous e-alert article, the Charity Commission ran a consultation in 2022 on proposed changes to the Annual Return and invited comments and responses from the sector. Following the consultation, the Commission has announced some amendments to the original proposals – for example up to 18 new questions are being introduced to the Annual Return (rather than the 22 initially proposed) with income thresholds being introduced on five of the new questions to help support smaller charities who were concerned that the new Annual Returns would place a "disproportionate burden" on their time and resources.

Commission CEO Helen Stephenson commented that the Commission does not want " trustees to feel daunted by the changes" and has expressed that the Commission is "on hand to help", with new guidance for filing the new annual returns in the works.

The Commission is also moving forward with the implementation of its new digital service, "My Charity Commission Account" this year, which will allow trustees to manage their charitable duties "on a platform that is easier to access and more secure". The current expectation is that trustees will be able to submit Annual Returns using the "My Charity Commission Account" by the summer, and so charity contacts registered with the Commission should keep an eye out for an email from the Commission about setting up their account.

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