Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 3°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

Tom Challis and Julia Carroll just before they left to travel the world in February.

The parents of Julia Carroll, from Boxford, have told how the 22-year-old made contact via Facebook to confirm she was safe after escaping Nepal earthquake.

Shawn Leek setting out on the first of seven marathons. Today he hopes to complete the challenge

Shawn Leek is feeling the pain today having run more than 180 miles in the past week - ending with the London Marathon this afternoon.

The Anzac Day parade from the Cornhill in Ipswich on Sunday led by the Ipswich Piping Society

Thousands of Australian and New Zealand forces who died during the First World War’s disastrous Gallipoli campaign have been commemorated on the centenary of the offensive in Ipswich today.

The Orwell District Scouts St George's Day open air service by the Leisure Centre in Felixstowe on Sunday

Scouts and Guides proudly raised their flags and paraded through Suffolk towns today to mark St George’s Day.

Angel Hall, missing 14-year-old girl from Leiston

A teenager from east Suffolk who was reported missing yesterday morning has been found safe and well.

Fire in Great Yeldham - stock photo

A ground floor flat was heavily smoke logged when fire crews arrived at the scene this afternoon.

Ipswich Crown Court.

A man who was banned from keeping dogs for 15 years after footage showed him punching and slapping his two Labradors has had the disqualification reduced from 15 years to 10.

The Revd Martin Dawes with his model train lay out at Woodbridge Methodist Church during the Toy and Model Train Show.

The pews were transformed into platforms and hymn sheets were discarded in favour of timetables as a church was transformed into a model railway network.

Lowestoft Town centre.

A fire broke out on the ground a semi-detached house on Victoria Road this morning.

Suffolk Cycle Sportive for St Elizabeth Hospice at Alton Water.

A charity has reported a rise in the number of women joining their annual Suffolk Sportive cycle event in the wake of the high-profile Women Tour passing through the county.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages