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Two or more overdue Annual Returns? You are at risk of being removed from the Charities Register

More than 90% of charities file their Annual Returns on or before the due date, which is great! Filing Annual Returns on time, and having them visible on the Charities Register, is one of the key drivers of public trust and confidence in the charitable sector.

However, a small number of charities – even after receiving an overdue notice from us – delay filing their Annual Return, or don’t file at all. Members of the public can see when a charity’s Return is overdue, and this can have a negative effect not only on confidence in the charity whose Return is missing, but also on the wider sector.

We aim to do everything we can to help encourage public trust and confidence in charities, and regularly contact charities who don’t meet their obligations to file Annual Returns. 

We have recently sent notices to charities that haven’t filed two or more Annual Returns – even after being sent overdue notices and reminders – to let them know that unless the missing Annual Returns are filed within the next month, they will be removed from the Charities Register. Around 2,530 charities have been deregistered previously for failing to file their Annual Returns.

We expect that a large number of the charities we are contacting will have stopped operating, but just not told us. (If you are winding up, you do need to let us know, using the Notice of Change form – see our Helpful tips, below). 

It’s possible that, as a consequence, over the next few months you may notice a fall in the number of registered charities, from the current 27,500 or so.

On a case-by-case basis, we can grant extensions to charities who expect they may need a little longer to file their Return, but it pays to let us know beforehand if something beyond your control is likely to prevent you filing on or before the due date.

Charities who meet their obligation to file their Annual Returns and are transparent about their activities and expenditure help to maintain the integrity of the Charities Register, so members of the public can rely on it for up-to-date information, and feel confident about making donations and providing support. 

Helpful tips

Winding up your charity

  • You must let us know as soon as possible, preferably by email to info@charities.govt.nz
  • Be sure to comply with the clause/s in your rules that relate to winding up
  • While winding up, you must still comply with your rules, and ensure that all your activities and expenditure go to fulfil your charitable purpose
  • Once wound up, you must transfer any remaining income or assets belonging to your charity in accordance with your rules. See information about tax liabilities following deregistration as a charity
  • It’s a good idea to file your last set of financial statements with us, so the public can be assured you have met all your obligations.

What happens to charities that are no longer registered?

  • We update your page on the Charities Register to show that you are no longer registered because the charity has wound up. We publish your final set of financial statements, so the public can see you are no longer operating, and can see any remaining assets or income that must be transferred to another charity.
  • We advise Inland Revenue that your charity is no longer operating, and that it is no longer eligible for charitable tax exemption.

If your charity has an overdue Annual Return, we recommend that you take steps to file it as soon as possible.