Covid Charity update

2nd July 2020

Many of the charities we support have been concerned about the impact of Coronavirus, and have understandably had many questions with regards to support and how to manage the charity.

 

Below is some of the latest government guidance (as of 26th June 2020) with regards to some of the most frequently asked questions that we have been assisting with.

 

Holding  an AGM & other meetings

 

Many charities have had to postpone or cancel their meetings. For charitable companies, due to temporary legal overrides, an AGM which had to be held between 26th March and 21st August 2020 can be delayed until 30th September 2020 at the latest (the government may choose to extend this).

 

Unincorporated charities are not covered by this new law however the trustees could change the requirements in the governing documents to be more flexible.

 

Trustees of any charity can cancel or postpone a meeting, but this decision should be recorded.

 

Delay in filing annual return and accounts

 

You should aim to file the Charity’s annual return and accounts on time, if possible. However if the impact of the pandemic has effected your ability to do so, and the filing date is close, charities can email filingextension@charitycommission.gov.uk quoting the charity name and registration number.

 

Digital meetings

 

It is not always possible at the moment to hold face-to-face meetings; therefore a lot of charities are opting to use digital methods, either by video conferencing or telephone. Most governing documents would allow for this, but it should be reviewed. The Commission will understand if you need to hold a digital meeting, but this decision should be recorded.

 

Insolvency

 

Many charities have concerns about becoming insolvent. The new law includes provisions to help businesses and charities continue operating and avoid insolvency due to the pandemic. These cover charitable companies and CIOs. For example, they are introducing moratoriums, to delay debt enforcement action, and temporary suspension of wrongful trading to allow directors/trustees to continue to operate the charity without the risk of personal liability.

 

The above are some of the key issues we’ve been discussing with clients, but should you have other questions or concerns the guidance in full can be viewed at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-the-charity-sector

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