Frequently Asked Questions

Here we offer some resources to help you answer some frequently asked questions :

If the PCC is a charity, why don’t we have a Registered Charity number?

All PCCs are charities. Currently PCCs with incomes over £100,000 a year must register with the Charity Commission. Find out more on the Registration with the Charity Commission page.

PCCs are currently “excepted” charities and are therefore not required to register with the Charity Commission (unless their income exceeds £100,000 as outlined above) which means that they do not have a Registered Charity number. For some grant applications and other purposes, you can supply the Inland Revenue “Gift Aid” claims reference number as a substitute, but you should be clear that this is what you are supplying.

PCCs with an annual income over £5,000 can voluntarily apply for registered status with the Charity Commission.

Does this mean that PCC members are trustees?

Yes! PCC members fulfil the same roles and have the same responsibilities as trustees. Working together with the Charity Commission, we have produced a booklet to provide an introduction to the topic for PCC members.

Online copy of the trusteeship booklet

Does the PCC have to follow the Charity Commission’s SORP accounting and reporting rules?

Yes it does. Guidance on this is provided on this website on the Accounting and Reporting pages.

Are some people excluded from being trustees? Can they be members of the PCC?

Part 7 of the Church Representation Rules should ensure that people are not elected to PCCs, who are disqualified from acting as charity trustees. PCCs should do what is reasonable to ensure that the PCC does not contain any individuals disqualified from acting as a charity trustee and that the persons appointed are suitable. Guidance on eligibility for trustees can be found on the Charity Commission’s website.

What reserves are we allowed to keep as a Charity?

We have produced a “Good Practice” guide to developing Reserves Policies. Click here to find out more.

What happens when parishes merge?

There is some specific guidance on the accounting and financial issues when parishes merge.

What is FATCA – Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act?

Click here for guidance on how to fill out forms your bank may send you.

Where can I get help on Parish Property Transactions?

If the parish is looking to acquire or dispose of property, new simplified regulations were approved by the Archbishops Council in September 2015 – see the new guidance on the Ecclesiastical Property Measure.

Are there circumstances under which we should refuse a donation?

Occasionally a parish may be faced with a situation where it is necessary to decide whether a donation should be accepted or refused.  The overriding principle is that decisions relating to the acceptance/refusal of donations must be taken in the best interests of the charity, but there are some situations where by law, trustees must refuse a donation.

Further information and guidance about accepting, refusing and returning donations has been produced by the Charity Commission.

Last updated:

21/03/2024 by Parish Resources Team: Layout and additional links to the Charity Commission website.