Charity trustees must keep the Charity Commission up to date about changes in their charity. If your charity is set up as a company, you must also keep Companies House up to date with changes.
Companies House has become more particular about filing requirements in recent months, and the Government is consulting on changes to give Companies House additional powers to investigate and reject filings, so it's increasingly important for charitable companies to get their filings right.
What do you have to tell the Charity Commission about?
All charities must tell the Charity Commission about any changes to their:
- contact details
- bank account details
- authorised officials and trustees, or changes to their details
- operations – for example, what it does
How do you make filings with the Charity Commission?
All filings with the Charity Commission must be made online. You can log in using your charity registration number and your password here. If you've misplaced your password you can request a new one here. Note that the Charity Commission will send the password to the email address they have on file for the charity. You can also ring the Charity Commission's helpline on 0300 066 9197.
What do you have to tell Companies House about?
If your charity is set up as a company, you must tell Companies House about changes to your charity's:
- articles of association
- company secretary
- persons with significant control over the charity ('PSCs')
- change of personal details of any trustee, secretary or PSC
- registered office
- where you keep company records
- mortgages and loan guarantees
- accounting reference date
How do you make filings with Companies House?
For Companies House, you can make filings either by post or online. Instructions on how to post documents to Companies House can be found here.
However, filing online is much faster and more reliable, and because the service checks for errors this reduces the risk of filings being rejected.
Companies House has two methods of online filing at the moment because of Covid-19 and this requires two separate accounts to be set up:
- WebFiling accounts: The WebFiling services has been in place for a while, and you can login online to file certain documents (see the list of documents you can file here). You can register for WebFiling here.
- Companies House accounts: Companies House created a new 'Upload a document to Companies House' service during lockdown to help companies do their filings. Before this, some filings had to be made by post as they couldn't be made using WebFiling. Those filings can now be made online (see the list of documents you can file here). However, those filings can't be made using a WebFiling account, they have to be made using a Companies House account which is separate. You can set up a Companies House account here.
In order to make filings through WebFiling or a Companies House account, you need a Company Authentication Code (CAC) which you will be asked to enter after you log in using your email address and password. The code is unique to each company and essentially replaces the signature on a paper form.
You can request a CAC in two ways:
- Usually Companies House will only send the code by post to the registered office. To request a code to be sent to the registered office, you need to sign in to you WebFiling account, select 'Request an authentication code' and enter your company registration number.
- At the moment Companies House will also send codes to the home address of an officer of the company. To request a code to be posted to a home address, you need to sign in to your Companies House account and request one (see instructions here).
What about other regulators?
If you are registered with another regulatory body, such as the Care Quality Commission or Ofsted, you will also need to keep them up to date with changes. Information about this can be found on each regulator's website.
We hope this acts as a useful checklist for charities in staying up to date with filings.