All religious organisations with annual incomes exceeding £100,000 have a duty to register as a charity for the charitable purpose of “the advancement of religion for the public benefit”. Registering as a charity comes with a number of benefits, including not having to pay income and corporation tax, and being able to claim back a portion of the income taxes paid by a donor under the Gift Aid scheme.

Trustees have legal responsibility for a charity’s management and administration. As such their actions are accountable to the public. For more information on trustee’s responsibilities, click here.

The names of trustees of Charities are to be displayed on the charity register in England and Wales from 1 April 2019, which will be publicly available and traceable from next month.

Charities and trustees will have until 25th of March 2019 to apply to the Charity Commission for a dispensation, which removes the names of Trustees from the register. A dispensation will only be granted by the Charity Commission under certain circumstances. For example, if a trustee applies on the basis that they wish to remain anonymous online, then it is unlikely that the Charity Commission will grant a dispensation.

However, if a trustee applies for a dispensation on the grounds that publicity about their role within a particular charity may put them or their family at risk, then the Commission is likely to grant the dispensation.

Since the names of trustees of all charities will be displayed to the public from April 2019, it is vital that charities take the time to review their trustee records and ensure that they are kept up to date. If a person leaves a charity as a trustee without the charity updating their trustee records, then anything they do after having left the charity has the potential to damage the reputation of the charity, and could even lead to legal ramifications if their actions are criminal.

For more information, click here.

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