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Churches – Ending of exception from registration with the Charity Commission

By Kevin Russell | 14 October 2020

As many of you will know, the current ‘Exception from Registration Regulations’ that mean that some churches are not legally required to register as a charity with the Charity Commission. These regulations are due to come to an end on 31 March 2021. In general, churches are legally required to register with the Charity Commission when their gross income exceeds £5,000 unless they fall within the excepting regulations, in which case, the gross income limit is increased to £100,000.

The churches that are within the exception regulations are those that belong to the following denominations or groupings:

  • Baptist (within section 2 of the Baptist and Congregational Trusts Act 1951)
  • Calvinistic Methodist or Presbyterian Church of Wales
  • Church of England
  • Church in Wales
  • FIEC affiliated
  • Methodist
  • Religious Society of Friends
  • United Reformed Church

We have received a number of queries from churches who are concerned to know what will happen after 31 March. The answer is likely to be that nothing changes. At least in the short term. The Government is consulting with the affected denominations and is inclined to further extend The Charities (Exception from Registration) Regulations. The only question is for how long and on what terms. We presently think that this will be for at least a further five years. As soon as we know more, we will publish the details.

Posted by Kevin Russell

Our Legal Eagle guru and Stewardship's Technical Director, Kevin constantly has his finger on the pulse of all things tax and charity law-related. His briefing papers for charities, churches and individuals are an invaluable resource on everything from VAT to Gift Aid. 

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