Know the facts

A charity to which all of the following apply:
  • Its gross annual income does not exceed £5,000 (section 30(2)(d), Charities Act 2011).
  • It is not an exempt charity.
  • It is not an excepted charity.
  • It is independent, that is, not a non-independent part of a larger charity (such as a local branch).
Small unregistered charities are not required to register with the Charity Commission. However, the Commission will consider an application to voluntarily register a charity with an annual income of less than £5,000 in "exceptional circumstances", such as if it can be proved that a registered charity number is necessary to access a significant offer of funds (see Practice note, Charity Commission: what it does and where to access its services and guidance: Applying to register a charity).Small unregistered charities can apply to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for the tax reliefs available to charities and use their HMRC charity number as evidence of charitable status (instead of a registered charity number issued on entry into the Register of Charities).Small unregistered charities must comply with charity law and are subject to the Charity Commission's regulatory powers, see Practice note, Charity Commission inquiries and regulatory casework: overview.