To keep the Register up to date and allow OSCR to monitor and regulate charities operating in Scotland, we require every charity to provide us with certain information by completing an online annual return.
The 2005 Act give OSCR the powers to make inquiries about and obtain information from charities.
Each year, charities are required to complete an online annual return. The online annual return is available to complete through the charity’s online account immediately after their year end date. The online annual return must be completed within nine months of the charity’s financial year end.
The trustees’ annual report and accounts must be submitted when the online annual return is completed.
All charities are required to answer some basic questions including details of their income and expenditure and the activities undertaken to achieve the charity’s purpose.
Where the charity’s income is £25,000 or more some additional questions are asked, and where income is £250,000 or more there is a requirement for more detail about the charity’s finances.
See Annual Monitoring for more on the process and timescales involved.
The information collected from the online annual returns help OSCR maintain a regulatory system in which the public can have confidence. It also provides statistics on the sector that are useful to policy makers and the sector itself.
We do not review all the returns and accounts submissions, however we do undertake reviews on both targeted and random bases. Where we receive an external concern about a charity we will consider the online annual return information and the accounts.
Where a review of the online annual return and accounts highlights a matter of concern we may contact the charity for further information.
Currently OSCR publishes the annual reports and accounts of all charities with an income of £25,000 or more and all Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations (SCIOs). Where a charity’s annual reports and accounts are published on the charity’s website or by another regulator (for example Companies House) then we link to those websites.
Charities proposing to amalgamate or wind up need to apply for OSCR’s consent to take this action. Once consent is given and the amalgamation or winding up put into effect, a final set of accounts made up to the date of amalgamation or winding up must be produced and submitted to OSCR. These accounts must be prepared and subjected to external scrutiny as required by the 2006 Regulations.
For more information on applying for OSCR's consent see our Making Changes to your charity pages.
Charities can be removed from the Register either at their own request or by OSCR. The 2005 Act makes provision for the protection of charitable assets of organisations that continue to operate after being removed from the Register.
An organisation removed from the Register continues to be under a duty to use the assets it had at the date of its removal from the Register, and any income from these assets, for the charitable purposes as set out in its Register entry on the date of removal. OSCR’s powers of inquiry and intervention continue with respect to these assets even though the organisation is no longer a Scottish charity.
OSCR will require a statement of account made up to the date of removal from the Register and thereafter the charity will be required to submit an annual statement of account for these assets, and any income from them, for as long as they are held by the former charity. The annual statement of account for these assets must comply with the 2005 Act and 2006 Regulations.
More information can be found in our Monitoring of former charities guidance