Update charity details
Registration with Charities Services obliges charities to notify us of changes to name, address for service, balance date, rules, purposes or officers no later than three months after the effective date of the change. This notification is to be done via use of the Update Details form online or via paper copies. We will then check that the changes do not affect your registration status.
One of the reasons why it is essential to ensure that your charitable entity information is up-to-date is because this information is made publicly available on the Charities Register. As such, all of this information must be true and correct.
You must let us know about changes to these six key areas (including the date when the change comes into effect):
How do we notify Charities Services about changes to our organisation?
Update your charity's details by logging into your account.
You must notify us of any changes no later than three months after:
- the change takes place, or
- your charity becomes aware of the change (whichever is the later).
Some changes that you need to tell us about may take place at your Annual General Meeting (AGM). In this case you may choose to report them when you file your annual return; as long as we receive the Update within three months of the changes being made.
What effects will these changes have?
If your charity is registered with the Companies Office, as an incorporated society, a registered charitable trust, or a company, you must send changes to its name to the Companies Office for their approval before notifying us.
You must notify us when there is change in the address for service of your charity.
If your officers change, you must notify us. When you appoint a new officer, you can add the officer online using 'Update Charity Details'.
The Update Charity Details form asks for the full name, date of birth and home address details of your charity’s officers. The Information Privacy Principles in the Privacy Act 2020 enable agencies, including Charities Services, to collect personal information for lawful purposes connected with a function or activity of the agency. Previously we have only collected an officer’s first and last name. This is not enough information for us to accurately identify officers when we need to. The date of birth and residential address information will not be publicly available, and will only be used by Charities Services and other agencies where authorised by law.
We have updated the Privacy Statements in our form to clearly set out what personal information is collected, what it will be used for, who can access the information, and the consequences of not supplying the information.
For instance, if the identifying information about new officers is not provided as part of the update charity details process, your charity could be in breach of statutory obligations to notify us of changes in the officers of your charity using the prescribed form. Significant or persistent failures to meet the requirements of the Charities Act 2005 can result in a charity being deregistered.
If you want to change your balance date and:
- there will be more than 15 months between the two balance dates, or
- your charity will not have a balance date in each calendar year
It is preferable for us to approve the proposed change of balance date before the change is made. Otherwise, you can change your balance date, and then notify us.
If you are reporting changes to your rules, you must provide a copy of the amendment to the rules.
If your organisation is incorporated (under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957, Incorporated Societies Act 1908 or Companies Act 1993), the rules you send us should match the rules you have sent to the Companies Office. Please ensure that your most recent rules have been approved by the Companies Office before you send them to us.
If you are making changes to your purposes you must ensure your new purposes are charitable within the meaning of section 5(1) of the Charities Act 2005. See Charitable purpose for more information. It is necessary to then follow the steps above (Changing your rules).
If you wish to change the legal structure of your charity, you can do so by filling in an update details form and providing your new rules to Charities Services. You will be able to keep your charities registration number.
Your charity should also contact Inland Revenue to discuss any changes to your tax treatment and, if your charity is incorporated, you should ensure that any changes to your structure is also updated with the Companies Office.
If you would like more information on legal structures, we have a blog post on our website.(external link)
Please note: if you want to transfer your assets to an existing entity that is not registered with us, you will not be able to use the Update Details form. This is because the existing entity might not meet our registration requirements.
We recommend that charities seek independent legal advice when wanting to transfer their assets to other entities or when they are winding up.