All content on this page is correct as of March 24, 2020
We’ve rounded up the latest news, guidance and notices relevant to the charity and not-for-profit sector.
DCMS is working closely with the civil society sector – including National Emergencies Trust, the National Council of Voluntary Organisations and the British Red Cross – on how to galvanise volunteers and coordinate help to those who need it most.
NCVO has gathered here useful resources on funding available to charities.
Charity Tax Group is maintaining this really good Coronavirus information hub for charity tax and finance professionals. It includes useful analysis of how charities may be eligible for the various streams of government funding announced so far. For example, organisations in the hospitality, leisure and retail (including charity shops) sectors with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be able to apply for a cash grant of £25,000 per business.
NPC has published “How philanthropists should respond to coronavirus” which has a useful section on funding sources.
Organisations supporting women and girls can now apply for a share of £15 million from the Tampon Tax Fund.
Three things we’re doing in response to Coronavirus. Big Society Capital describes some of the actions it’s taking to try to support the financial sustainability of charities and social enterprises during the pandemic.
Social enterprises and COVID-19: Grants, loans and other funding. Pioneers Post has collated a list of funding that can help social enterprises and other social sector organisations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
All organisations in the leisure, retail and hospitality industry are now eligible for 100% rates discount. Click here for more. This would include for example charity shops, cafes at theatres, museums and historic homes.
The Charity Commission now has a guidance page on Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for the charity sector. This includes:
Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
CCNI has followed the other regulators in issuing a statement about coronavirus and its services, which covers issues such as filings, meetings and serious incident reporting: https://www.charitycommissionni.org.uk/news/covid-19-coronavirus-information/
Companies House offices in London and Cardiff are now closed. Any physical documents must now be delivered to Companies House Cardiff.
Filings – we have checked if there is flexibility to use online filing for filings which would usually have to be done as paper filings. Unfortunately the answer is no – all paper filings are still required to be posted to their Cardiff office. And for some paper filings where a fee is payable, it is also not possible to make an electronic payment – payment must still be by cheque – which may be difficult if it is not currently possible to raise a cheque in your organisation’s name. Companies House did say on the phone that they will allow the filing past the 14 day deadline in these circumstances as this is acceptable anyway in good faith.
Accounts – Just a reminder Companies House has published guidance Coronavirus: if your company cannot file accounts with Companies House on time. If immediately before the filing deadline it becomes apparent that the accounts of a company cannot be filed on time because of the Coronavirus, an application can be made to extend the period allowed for filing. For information on how to apply for more time, see here. If an application for an extension is not made and accounts are filed late, an automatic penalty will be imposed. Appeals based upon the Coronavirus will be considered under the late filing penalties guidance but the Registrar of Companies has limited discretion to waive penalties.
The IoF and Fundraising Regulator have advised all charities to “reflect seriously on whether to continue public fundraising due to the increased health risk”. They mean in particular street, house to house and private site fundraising.
The Charity Commission and the Fundraising Regulator have issued a joint statement about ensuring you give safely to charities at this time: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/regulators-urge-safe-giving-to-charities-as-communities-respond-to-coronavirus-pandemic The advice include the following points:
The Chairman of the Charity Tax Group, has written to the Chancellor requesting immediate support for charities through the tax system during the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter presents six practical proposals to simplify charities’ interaction with the tax system and to unlock important tax reliefs for charities at a time when cashflow is under serious strain. The Chancellor is asked to:
Delayed: IR35 (reforms to off-payroll working rules)
Reforms to off-payroll working rules have been delayed by 12 months as part of the government’s Covid-19 economic response package. The rules will now come into effect on 6 April 2021 instead of 6 April this year.
The government has confirmed funding for early years entitlements will continue during any periods of nursery, preschool or childminder closures, or where children cannot attend due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
NCVO has published this summary of the government’s Coronavirus Bill. The government is intending for the Bill to take effect from the end of March 2020, with the provisions relating to Statutory Sick Pay having retrospective effect to 13 March 2020.
The Information Commissioner’s Office has published an announcement confirming public authorities will not be penalised for extended Freedom of Information Act response times. The ICO cannot extend the statutory timescales, but will take into account the compelling public interest during the health emergency when assessing any complaint of non-compliance.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and Public Health England have published guidance on the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) aimed at hostel or day centre providers for people rough sleeping.
The Cabinet Office has published Procurement Policy Note 01/20: Responding to COVID-19 (PPN 01/20). Click here for our overview.
Finance and audit
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales has set up a hub with useful information on a range of topics including business interruption, audit and financial reporting. https://www.icaew.com/insights/coronavirus
The Financial Reporting Council has published guidance on audit issues arising from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The FRC states that audits should continue to comply with required standards, and additional time may be required to complete audits, even at the risk of delaying company reporting. It further states that auditors will need to consider the impact of COVID-19 on, among other matters:
It also states that auditors will need to engage with entities to ensure that:
This information is necessarily of a general nature and doesn’t constitute legal advice. This is not a substitute for formal legal advice, given in the context of full information under an engagement with Bates Wells.
All content on this page is correct as of March 24, 2020.