Time for a change?

If you are a trustee of a charitable trust, or a charitable unincorporated association such as a community group or a sports club, you and your fellow trustees may be considering changing the structure of your charity to take advantage of the benefits of a corporate structure, such as a charitable company, or a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), a dedicated form of structure specific to charities which is similar to a company.

If this applies to you, then you should have a look at the Charity Commission’s new guidance about changing your charity’s structure, which they published at the end of November 2019.

The guidance sets out the steps the charity trustees will need to take to change the structure of its charity, and incorporates links to some template documents and checklists to help you along the way.

The online guidance includes a helpful video which explains the circumstances in which you might want to change your charity’s structure, and takes you through the process, highlighting important parts of the guidance and explaining how the Charity Commission deals with applications to change a charity’s structure.

To apply for a conversion of a charity from an unincorporated to an incorporated status, trustees must apply using the Charity Commission’s online application form. The new guidance sets out all the documents that need to be uploaded as part of the application process. For example, if you are converting from a trust to CIO, then you will need to upload copies of the trustees’ special or written resolutions confirming the decision to convert to a CIO and adopting the proposed constitution of the CIO, plus a copy of the proposed constitution itself.

Changing to a different charitable structure usually involves setting up a new charity, transferring your original charity’s assets and liabilities to that new charity, and then closing the original charity.

This can be complex, particularly if your charity has assets which are permanent endowment, or your charity owns land or property.

We would be happy to assist you in this process if this is something you are considering for your charity. Please contact Jane Whitfield at jane.whitfield@barrettandco.co.uk or on 0118 958 9711 for further advice, or to arrange a £95 fixed fee meeting.

Further reading

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