The Charity Commission for England and Wales will be introducing a mandatory requirement for all charities to declare income received from overseas, despite strong criticism from charities.
The new measure will require charities to list all countries they receive income from, and report all funding from overseas governments, quasi-governmental bodies, charities, non-governmental organisations and civil society groups. Charities with an annual income of more than £25,000 will also be asked to give the total value of donations received from individuals and other institutional donors outside the UK, which are more than £25,000. Charities with an annual income of less than £25,000 will be asked to report these donations if they amount to more than 80% of the charity’s gross annual income.
The reporting requirements will be introduced as part of wider changes to the annual return, which will be rolled out in February 2018. Other information that charities will be asked to report on includes the number of staff paid over £60,000 and the use of informal money transfer systems outside of the UK, such as cash couriers and hawala networks.
Mike Wright, Bond’s director of membership and communications, said:
“Some of the proposed changes will help alleviate reporting pressures to a small degree. These minor concessions include delaying the requirement for organisations to report income from some donors and introducing a minimum reporting threshold for individual donations and income from institutional donors that aren't overseas charities or NGOs. However, the revisions do not go far enough and will still prove unnecessarily burdensome, particularly for small NGOs who have less capacity to record this level of detail around donations.
These new measures will also make it harder for the UK to hold other governments to account, particularly those using similar funding information as a means to restrict civic freedoms by unfairly discrediting NGOs championing democracy and human rights.
We urge the Charity Commission to reconsider before the new Annual Return is rolled out next month.”
- The Charity Commissions press release can be found here and the consultation report here.
- Bond is the UK network for organisations working in international development. Bond unites and supports a diverse network of over 450 civil society organisations and allies to help eradicate global poverty, inequality and injustice.
- For more information please contact Maryam Mohsin, firstname.lastname@example.org or 07555 336029