Charities urged to ask for filing extension amid coronavirus outbreak

Charities due to submit an annual return “imminently” but are suffering from coronavirus-related disruption should request a filing extension, the Government has announced.

According to the Charity Commission, measures are being put in place to ensure that charities – often the organisations looking after our country’s most vulnerable – are supported.

This includes charities currently suffering from disruption, such as a loss of income and productivity through self-isolation and increased periods of employee sickness.

“As an immediate step, charities that are due to submit an Annual Return imminently, but feel unable to do so, can call us to request a filing extension,” said the regulator.

“We want to assure charities that our approach to regulation during this period will be as flexible and supportive as possible. Charities’ primary interest, and ours, must be looking after the public and the communities that we serve.”

The Charity Commission added: “Charities can feel confident that we will, where possible, act in a pragmatic way by taking account of the wider public interest during this unprecedented period.”

Last week, Budget 2020 revealed that the Government would fund up to two weeks of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for employers with fewer than 250 employees.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, meanwhile, is only available to charities if they receive more than half of their income from trading activity.

Commenting on the scheme, Richard Sagar, policy manager at the Charity Finance Group, said that the restriction on loan funding means “the vast majority of charities won’t have access”.

“Charities need additional measures not outlined in the budget to help them through this very difficult time. Coronavirus won’t just affect business income but also fundraising, grants, investments etc.”

For help and advice meeting your financial reporting obligations during this difficult period, please get in touch with our expert team.

Posted in Charities, Covid-19 - Charities, COVID-19 Business Support Hub.