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The Charities Commission has the power under section 20 of the Charities Act 2005 to backdate the registration of charitable organisations.
This means that (for the purposes of the Charities Act, the Income Tax Act 2007, and the Estate and Gift Duties Act 1968) - if the Commission makes a decision to backdate the registration of an organisation, it will be treated as though it was a charitable entity as at a date before the Commission's actual decision to register.
This is referred to as "the effective date of registration".
There are two criteria the Commission will take into account when deciding whether it can backdate an application:
- is the application properly completed?
- was the organisation qualified for registration at all times during the period between the effective date of registration, and the date on which the decision to register it was made?
What is the process for applying to backdate our application?
If your organisation wants to have its registration backdated to either the date that its application was received by the Commission or a later date, please request this at the time the application is made.
There is no special form or process to follow — a letter is all that is required. You can upload a letter as part of an online application, or send it by post.
The Commission will make a case-by-case decision about whether it can backdate any properly-completed application for registration to the date when we received it.
What are the criteria for a "properly completed application"?
The Commission will treat an application as "properly-completed" for the purpose of considering it for backdating, if it has received:
- a certified application form
- a set of rules
- at least one Officer Certification Form
Group applications - For group applications, the Commission must have received:
- a submission for consideration to be treated as a group
- and for each member of the group, a completed Group Member Information (GMI) form
- a set of rules
- at least one Officer Certification Form.
All forms mentioned above are available on the forms page.
Can we qualify for registration between applying and the date of registration?
When making its decision about backdating an application, the Commission will determine whether it is satisfied that the organisation was qualified for registration at all times between the effective date of registration, and the date on which the decision to register it was made.
If an applicant changes its rules during this time, the Commission must be satisfied that any changes relate only to changing the applicant’s written record, rather than changing its behaviour.
The Commission will ask the applicant to provide written confirmation that they have remained "charitable" in the intervening time.
Example - this might be confirmation that they did not have a purpose of making a private pecuniary profit.