Set up a charity

Register your charity

You must apply to register your charity if:

  • its income is at least £5,000 per year or it’s a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO)
  • it’s based in England or Wales (the rules are different in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Supporting documents

When you apply you’ll be asked:

You’ll also need to give your charity’s:

  • name
  • bank or building society details
  • most recent accounts
  • contact details, including a postal address
  • trustees’ names, dates of birth and contact details
  • a copy of your charity’s governing document (in PDF format)

Proof of income

Proof of income, if needed, can be any one of:

  • your charity’s latest ‘published’ annual accounts (in PDF format) - they must have been approved as proof of income by an independent examiner or auditor
  • a recent bank statement (as a scanned image)
  • a formal offer of funding from a recognised funding body (as a scanned image)
  1. Step 1 Check if setting up a charity is right for you

  2. and Check you're eligible

  3. Step 2 Find trustees

    Trustees are responsible for the operation of your charity. They must show they understand their legal requirements.

    1. Check who's eligible to be a trustee and what skills they need to have
    2. Find and appoint trustees
    3. Read about your trustees' legal responsibilities
  4. Step 3 Find out how to choose a charity structure

  5. and Choose a name for your charity

    There are rules on what words you can use in your name.

    1. Check what you can call your charity

    You cannot register a name that's the same as or similar to another charity.

    1. Check the names of registered charities
  6. and Decide and write your charity's purposes

    Your ‘purposes’ describe what your charity is set up to achieve.

    1. Find out how to write your charity's purposes
  7. Step 4 Create a governing document

    The governing document is a set of rules that explains how your charity is run. It needs to include your charity's structure, name and purposes.

    1. Find out how to write your governing document
  8. Step 5 Make sure you meet the 'public benefit requirement'

    Your organisation must be able to show that it benefits the public.

    1. Check how your organisation must benefit the public
  9. Step 6 Register your charity

    You must apply to register your charity with the Charity Commission if either:

    • its income will be at least £5,000 per year
    • it’s a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO)
    1. You are currently viewing: Register with the Charity Commission

    You can register your charity’s details with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to get tax back on things like Gift Aid donations.

    1. Register with HMRC