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Very small charity and Companies House submissions

Very small charity and Companies House submissions

I have been approached by a charity that needs to file with Companies House by 28th February.  The last time I looked, I am sure that I only need to file an abbreviated balance sheet, and just wanted to check that this is still correct.  Also that as there is no share capital these submissions still need to be made via a paper copy.

Although this is a tight deadline, there is very little financial activity (about 8 entries) so its actually a very quick job.  I just wanted to check that my assumptions regarding Companies House filing are correct, before I commit.



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26th Feb 2013 15:01

I know little about charities

... but as far as I am aware, if it is a limited company, it is subject to the filing requirements of the Companies Act.  If it qualifies under the small company regime, it may file abbreviated accounts, comprising just a balance sheet and its accounting policies, at Companies House.  However, it must still produce full statutory accounts for its members - they should be prepared first and then, the abbreviated accounts can be prepared from them, approved by a director and filed at Companies House.

If it has no share capital, it would appear to be a company limited by guarantee.  Abbreviated accounts for guarantee companies can now be filed online, assuming you know the company's authentication code, or you can file a paper copy by post, as you can for companies limited by shares.

If you need more time, submit a form AA01 by 28th February to shorten the previous accounting period by 1 day to 30th May 2012.  The filing date will then be 3 months from when you file the AA01.  However, you can still prepare accounts for the year to 31st May 2012 because s.390(2)(b) CA 2006 allows you to prepare accounts to any date within 7 days before or after the official date.

Thanks (1)
By jem
26th Feb 2013 19:01




Thanks Euan, it is definitely a company limited by guarantee, I should have stated this in my question.


I hadn't realised that I could buy time by shortening the accounting period by 1 day, this is probably my best option.

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By johnt27
26th Feb 2013 16:43

In theory you don't have an issue preparing and filing abbreviated accounts for a corporate charity. However, some would say that since you have to comply with the SORP which requires charity accounts to include a SOFA then you may inadvertently be breaching the Charities Act.

I'm a little undecided to be honest and if I was you I would ring your professional body's technical helpline for guidance. At least then you will have covered yourself should anything come back to bite you!

If the charity appears as simple as you describe it shouldn't be too difficult to knock out full accounts prior to the deadline....

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By jem
26th Feb 2013 19:04




I hadn't thought in terms of not including a SOFA.    I worked on the basis that when filing at Companies House, you were only bound by their reporting requirements, but I do realise that I would have to provide a full version for the board and Charities Commission.  

All of this is for about £400 worth of income and £170 of expenditure.



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By johnt27
26th Feb 2013 20:13

Why are they a limited co?

When they have such small levels of income and expenditure I can only assume they hold assets or investments that the trustees protect and require the identity of a seperate legal entity to own? Based on those numbers if they weren't corporate the reporting requirements for the Charity Commission are practically nil!

Getting out of the corporate structure may well be more cost effective for this client or if they want to remain corporate why not go down the CIO route which brings less compliance from Companies House.

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By jem
26th Feb 2013 20:45




They don't hold any assets.  I think this was set up to take forward specific projects that never really happened, and it has just rolled on for a few years.

I have just looked at the Charities Commission website and the info on the annual return seems to indicate that at this income level, there is no requirement to file accounts with them.  I think that must be right because going back over this charity's history, it has never been required to file accounts.  


I didn't really know much about CIO's but it does appear to be more straightforward than their current configuration.


Thanks again, your comments were really helpful.

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By DMGbus
27th Feb 2013 14:19

Online filiing

I have one (non-charity) company limited by guarantee as a client and for several years have successfully filed Abbreviated Accounts online with Companies House.

Stage one is the preparation of compliant full accounts.

Stage two is to produce Abbreviated Accounts from stage one.  These Abbreviated Accounts can then be filed on online or sent paper form to Companies House.

A properly organised charity I would have thought should not be in "last minute panic" mode and if it is then it should pay the fine for late filing and hopefully learn a lesson for the future about proper financial management.



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By jem
27th Feb 2013 20:28

My understanding was that at least until recently, you couldn't file accounts online for entities with no share capital.  I am not sure at what point this changed, but I am so glad it has, as I have a number of companies limited by guarantee as clients.  As for this charity, my friend became secretary and she wasn't aware of any letters from Companies House as they were going to someone who was no longer involved, and she had no idea about registered addresses etc.  Its a very small entity, and this person is involved in a very large not-for-profit, but obviously not on the finance/compliance side.  Its very straightforward to straighten things out and make sure that there are no unexpected deadlines in the future.






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06th Mar 2013 11:31

I am sorry but you cannot file abbreviated

This was aired on here some time ago and I know there were some dissenters, but:-

It is a charitable company

It must therefore use the SORP to give a true and fair view



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