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7. What assets and ongoing costs might you have?

Published: 16/04/2024
Updated: 30/04/2024

Now that you have decided the activities you want to undertake, and understand the budget you will have, you can now document the assets and costs the charity might have when it is operating. When looking at your assets and costs you must also consider if there is any private benefit as a consequence.


A charity’s assets can include:

  • premises, like an office
  • equipment
  • vehicles.

An organisation will fail the charity test if its governing document allows it to use any of its property (assets) for a purpose that is not a charitable purpose under the 2005 Act. This applies during the lifetime of the charity and when the organisation is being wound up.

If a charity wants to wind up, it will not receive consent from OSCR until we make sure that any remaining assets of the charity will only be used for charitable purposes.


Costs can include:

  • utilities
  • taxes
  • rent
  • licences
  • insurance
  • salaries
  • pensions.

Payments to charity trustees must comply with strict rules. We look carefully at applications where an individual plans to pay themselves once the charity is set up and will ask questions about why that individual should be paid. This is so we can assess private benefit. If you want to pay yourself a salary, then being a charity is not the ideal route and you should consider an alternative.

More information on trustee remuneration can be found here.

Considering private benefit

Individuals can, do, and should benefit from the activities of charities. However, where individuals other than as a member of the public benefit from a charity’s activities, we will regard this as private benefit.  

If it appears that the organisation has been set up wholly or mostly for the private benefit of an individual or group of people, it is unlikely that it will pass the charity test. The fact that some private benefit exists does not on its own mean that an organisation will fail the test. We look at the private benefit in the context of the whole benefit the organisation provides, or (in the case of applicants) intends to provide in pursuit of its purposes. 

Read more about private benefit here.