Charity formation

Setup and register your charity with expert guidance from Pearcelegal. We have over 20 years of experience working with charities like yours.

Charities are established for many reasons, including memorialising loved ones or to raise money for a specific community. Our charity solicitors can aid in the formation of new charitable endeavours so you can focus on fundraising.

Establishing a charity is a noble and worthwhile endeavour. When existing charities do not meet the needs of the community you hope to serve, you may wish to create a new fundraising conduit. Charities are often set up in honour of lost loved ones so that their memory may live on in charitable acts. While the intention may be clear, the process of setting up a charity is complex.

All charities must be registered with the Charity Commission. We can help you to understand this process and offer guidance on the right way forward. This includes gathering documents, preparing statements and ensuring all financial systems are set up in a compliant way. Our charity solicitors can take the lead so you can focus your attention on fundraising and other charitable activities.

Choosing the right structure for your charity

There are four different types of charities. Your choice of charity structure will have far-reaching implications for your future operations, so it is important to choose the correct structure from the start. Charities fall into the following four categories:

  • Charitable incorporated trust (CIO)

  • Charitable company limited by guarantee

  • Unincorporated association

  • Trust

We can help you to understand the implications of each charity type and determine the right course of action for your charitable endeavours. If your ambitions are simply to create a lasting memory for a loved one, a trust will suffice. If this charity grows beyond expectations, it is possible to change the structure of your charity later. Our team can also help with charity restructuring.

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to set up a charity?

According to the Charity Commission, the average time to set up a charity is 40 days. This may be much longer if the Charity Commission has questions about your proposed activities. During this time, you cannot raise money as a registered charity.

What are the costs associated with setting up a charity?

The Charity Commission does not charge a fee to set up a charity. However, to become a registered charity you need to have an annual income of over £5,000. Your charity startup costs may be very low and might include staff, stationery and legal advice.

Can I restructure my charity at a later date?

Restructuring your charity at a later date is possible, but you will need legal support. If the charity owns assets, this will be very complex and time-consuming. We can help you navigate this process so that your charity can continue with its goals.

What happens if a charity is not registered?

Small unregistered charities can apply to HMRC for tax reliefs. Once the charity annual income surpasses £5,000 the charity will need to be registered. Until the charity is registered, it will not have a registered charity number.

Our specialists in Charity formation

Graham Pearce

Director

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