Prepare a charity trustees' annual report

What to put in your trustees' annual report, depending on your charity's income and the value of its assets.

Applies to England and Wales

About charity trustees’ annual reports

Your trustees’ annual report helps people understand what your charity does, particularly potential funders and beneficiaries.

You need to write a trustees’ annual report if your charity is registered in England or Wales. Along with your accounts, the report tells people:

  • about your charity’s work
  • where your money comes from
  • how you’ve spent your money in the past year

Reports for small non-company charities

If your charity’s income is under £500,000 (and providing it doesn’t have assets worth more than £3.26million), prepare a simple report including:

  • your charity’s name, registration number, address and trustee names
  • its structure and details of how it is managed, including how it recruits trustees
  • its activities and objectives in the year
  • its achievements and performance, including reporting on its public benefit
  • a financial review including any debts and details of your reserves policy (if applicable)
  • details of any funds held as a custodian trustee

You can put more detail into your trustees’ annual report if you want to. You only have to send a copy to the commission with your annual return if your income is more than £25,000. But you need to send the commission a copy if it asks for it.

Reports for large or company charities

Prepare a full trustees’ annual report if either:

  • your charity’s income is above £500,000 (or above £250,000 if its assets are worth more than £3.26 million)
  • your charity is a company or CIO

A full report needs to follow the guidelines set out by SORP.

Upload a copy of your trustees’ annual report as a PDF file when you send your annual return to the Charity Commission.

Charities’ SORP

A statement of recommended practice (SORP) gives a framework for accounting and reporting, designed to:

  • help charity trustees meet their legal requirement for their accounts to give a true and fair view
  • encourage consistency in accounting standards

For accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2016, use the Charities SORP (FRS 102) if your charity is preparing accruals accounts unless there’s a specific SORP for your type of charity, for example:

For accounting periods prior to 1 January 2015, use SORP 2005.

For one year (accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2015), if you are a smaller entity, there is a choice between using either:

Your charity will count as a smaller entity and can use the FRSSE SORP if any 2 of the following statements is true:

  • its income is less than £6.5m
  • the value of all its assets is less than £3.26m
  • it employs no more than 50 staff

Otherwise, you’ll need to use the FRS 102 SORP.

Report on your charity’s public benefit

Whether you complete a simple or full trustees’ annual report, by law you must report how you have carried out your charity’s purposes for the public benefit.

This helps people, including funders and beneficiaries, to understand why your charity does what it does. If your charity’s income is less than £500,000, you can choose how you report on this. But as a minimum you need to say:

  • what your charity’s charitable purposes are
  • what it has done during the year to carry out those purposes
  • that you have taken the commission’s public benefit guidance into account when making any decision it is relevant to

If your charity’s income is more than £500,000 you also need to:

  • explain your strategy for meeting its charitable purposes
  • list any significant activities you undertook as part of this strategy
  • give details of what your charity achieved in carrying out these activities to meet its purposes
Published 10 May 2013