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Legal obligations of charities

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The legal obligations of charities under the Charities Acts, Trustee Acts, and the Companies Acts.

All charities must comply with the following.

Charitable companies

In addition to the above, charitable companies (those incorporated as a company limited by guarantee) must comply with provisions in the Companies Act 2006.

Additional requirements include filing details of trustees as directors at Companies House.

Charitable Incorporated Organisations

It is also possible to set up a charity which is a corporate body in the form of a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, or 'CIO'.

CIOs were established as a new type of legal structure in Part 11 (section 204 to 250) of the Charities Act 2011, and the detail for how CIOs operate are set out in secondary legislation such as the Charitable Incorporated Organisations (General) Regulations 2012.

Charitable trusts

Charities can also be established in the form of trusts, where the trustees can only use the trust funds to benefit charities or charitable purposes.

Trustees of these structures will primarily need to comply with the Trustee Acts 1925 and 2000.

Last reviewed: 27 July 2022

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This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 27 July 2022

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