Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 16°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Essex: Investigation reveals hundreds of charities failing to file accounts

13:00 04 February 2013

Former NHS worker must pay back money

Former NHS worker must pay back money

Archant

HUNDREDS of charities across Essex are failing to publicly declare what their cash is being spent on, it has emerged.

shares

According to the Charity Commission’s website, there are 259 charities in the county that are failing to submit their annual returns, with some going back as far as seven years.

If a charity’s annual income is more than £10,000 it is a legal requirement for the trustees to send the Commission an annual return each year, which is then published online.

However, an investigation carried out by the East Anglian Daily Times revealed that 29 charities in north Essex have outstanding documents, including one which receives thousands of pounds in grants from its town council.

The Charity Commission said it was vital charities were “open and transparent” with their donors and urged all those which are yet to send in their paperwork to do so as soon as possible.

A number of the charity trustees in question that the EADT spoke to said changes in leadership and poor handovers from their predecessors meant they were unaware they had to submit paperwork. Others said because of the small number of volunteers which work for their charity, it was difficult to manage administrative duties on top of the work they do for the community. Polly Kettenacker, a spokeswoman for the Charity Commission, said: “Charities have to try to be open and transparent with their donors.

“Yes, there is accountability on the trustees but funders also have a duty to check a charity’s financial records.

“Our advice would be don’t give to charities if their accounts are overdue. If the charity is funded by a local authority or grant making body, what checks have been made?”

The Government is currently reviewing the Charities Act and the Charity Commission says it has suggested charities that file accounts late should be prevented from claiming gift aid.

“We are limited in what sanctions we can give,” Ms Kettenacker added. “We do have some powers, which are quite robust, but it would take a lot more than a late submission of accounts for the Commission to interact directly with a charity.

“We believe there should be an economic sanction on charities, that is from HM Revenue and Customs.”

She said 86% of charities do send their paperwork in on time but sometimes when accounts are filed late it is because the charities no longer exist and have not notified the Commission.

Charities with an annual income of £10,000 or less do not have to file at all, but are required to inform them if their details have changed.

“If we haven’t heard from a charity after having sent out reminders we will assume they no longer exist and take them off the system,” Ms Kettenacker added.

However, she said sometimes it is not possible if the charity owns significant assets.

amie.keeley@eadt.co.uk

shares

2 comments

  • So there you are, just be careful which charities you give your money to. They are not all honest.

    Report this comment

    JOHN BURLS

    Monday, February 4, 2013

  • Interesting article, especially as charities are likely to get reminders from the Charity Commission. Best check to see if your accountant sent them - it might not be the charity!

    Report this comment

    Keith Adams

    Monday, February 4, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

A double lightining strike has hit and destroyed a house. Darren Hobson surveys the damage. Picture: Stephen Huntley.

A hero father-of-six who led his family to safety following a lightning strike to his home has praised his neighbours’ support.

Stuart Cullen, from the Lowestoft area, who died in the terrorist attack in Tunisia.

The family of a man who died in the Tunisian massacre have paid tribute to their “third musketeer”.

New Street, Woodbridge

Mrs Poppy died after a collision in New Street, Woodbridge, on Wednesday.

Libby Brown headteacher at Kyson Primary, Woodbridge.

A board of school governors has launched a fierce attack on Suffolk County Council after their headteacher had to stop work for seven weeks.

BBC Radio Suffolk's Mark Murphy with one of the Scamnesty bids

A Suffolk Trading Standards Scamnesty campaign is using special bins across the county in a bid to snare unscrupulous conmen.

Cedar House, Pytches Road, Melton - set to have ten new homes in its grounds.

Developers who have bought a prime site on the edge of Woodbridge from the district council expect to submit proposals to create new homes next month.

Beach patrol rescue spaniels from Clacton beach.
Owner and her dogs.

A beach patrol team at Clacton swung into action to rescue two dogs yesterday evening.

Culford Girls under 18 Hockey Team January 1990

Were you a member of the Culford girls under 18 hockey team in January 1990. Were you in the squad photographed here?

Sybil Andrews at work in her studio, circa 1980 - Photo from the book

Suffolk artists are often hidden from history, but a campaigner is hoping to rectify that.

Murrayfield Primary School.

The headteacher of an Ipswich primary school has resigned just weeks after parents criticised a decision to axe after-school clubs and the end of term disco.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages