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Change again? The 2018 Annual Return

By Alan Hough | 9 January 2018

Change again? The 2018 Annual Return

Seemingly in every aspect of charity governance, regulators are looking for greater professionalism and demanding more information. Following proposals by the Charity Commission towards the end of 2017 it appears that the charity annual return for 2018 (AR18) is no different.  The return, which will apply to charities with an accounting period starting on or after 1 January 2018, will build on the current return delving deeper into a number of areas.

Much of the information collected will be made available to the public, often without a context from which it can be properly interpreted. Many in the sector, ourselves included, are concerned by this, believing that it may actually serve to undermine confidence rather than enhance it.


What to expect

Full details of what to expect can be found in the consultation response document here but there are two themes we thought worth highlighting:

Sensitive data

  1. Information will be required for any employee receiving total employment benefits in excess of £60,000. The analysis requires the number of employees to be revealed in bands (£10,000 up to £150,000 and £50,000 thereafter) up to £500,000 with a final band above £500,000. The banding analysis will be made public. The total benefits paid to the highest paid employee is also required, but will not be published.
  2. A question set will be introduced to establish whether trustees are paid or in receipt of other benefits from the charity. No amounts are required and this information will be published.
  3. Charities will be asked whether staff or volunteers work with vulnerable beneficiaries and if so whether they have been DBS checked. There will not be an opportunity to provide a context for these answers. The Commission will monitor responses before deciding whether to publish or not.


Areas requiring additional analysis

  1. With some minor concessions, a question set will be introduced analysing income received from outside the UK by country and source. This information will not be published.
  2. A question set (in part voluntary to start with) will be introduced analysing expenditure incurred outside of England and Wales including an analysis by amount of the methods of money transfer used.



Even though completing the AR18 return seems some way off, most likely Q1 – Q3 2019, you need to understand now what is required and to start capturing the necessary income and expenditure data necessary to complete the return. Here again is a link to the Charity Commission response so that you can assess how this will affect your own situation.


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Posted by Alan Hough

Alan has an accounting background having worked in “the City” for more years than he cares to mention. He now works as an advisor and consultant to a number of Christian churches and charities seeking to help them better understand and embrace their finances.

On a good day, you might find him on out on his bike or at White Hart Lane cheering on his beloved Spurs.


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