Frequently asked questions are listed questions and answers.


How do we build a trustee board


See our trustee resources and trustee recruitment pages for more information about the role of trustees as well as how to recruit and induct a board.

The Essential Trustee - Charity Commission

Online registration - Charity Commission

If you have any questions, call the HMRC Charities Helpline (0845 302 0203)


How do we define our charity if we are too small to register?

As long as you adhere to charity law (e.g. have charitable purposes, can prove public benefit) you may refer to your organisation as a charity. DO NOT use the word/s ‘registered’ or ‘charity status’ or anything else that may mislead funders, donors, the public etc. If your charity has a HMRC number you may wish to state this fact e.g. ‘our charity is a not-for-profit organisation recognised as charitable by HMRC for tax purposes’ but DO NOT quote your actual tax number - this could make your charity vulnerable to fraud


How do we open bank account

Unfortunately there’s not a lot of consistency when it comes to registering charity bank accounts. Some insist on a registration number. Others might just request a governing document. The problem is, these rules change, so spend a bit of time researching your options. Remember there are specialist charity banks (e.g. CAF Bank, Unity Trust Bank) as well as high street banks out there.

If for whatever reason it is not possible to register a bank account in the charity name, your Treasurer may consider opening a personal one, but do so separately from any other he or she may have. If possible, facilitate two signatures to sign cheques. Additionally (but certainly if the latter cannot be done) make a statement to the other Trustees to the effect that the Treasurer holds money in Account X on behalf of the charity, and to leave that statement with them

How do we register with HMRC for Tax Purposes

Visit the HMRC Charities webpage (or more specifically the part about charitable recognition). You will need to complete the ChA1 form, read all the guidance provided to do this. Please be aware that as part of your application, you will need to provide supporting evidence of your charitable purposes and normally a Small Charity Constitution will not suffice. You will probably have to consider developing one of the longer model Governing Documents provided by the Charity Commission. HMRC also expect your charity to already have a bank account set up


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