A non-profit, or charitable, organisation in the United Kingdom will have to register with the Charity Commission. The Charity Commission ensures that non-profit organisations function for the public benefit, independent of government and commercial interference. All charities in England and Wales are accountable to the Charity Commission.
Ensure that your charity meets the requirements set out for charitable and non-profit organisations. This includes demonstrating a public benefit, operating under charitable purposes and having a legal document, called a Governing Document, that sets out the way in which your charity will operate, such as the objective of the charity, trustees, amendments and a dissolution provision.
Register with the Charity Commission if your charity's income is over £5,000 and/or the charity head/parent organisation is within England or Wales. It is illegal to not register with the Charity Commission if your charity's income is over £5,000. Registering your charity will make your charity's operations and resource usage information available to the public online for accountability purposes.
Use the Charity Commission's online registration form to apply for registration. The online process is simply an application, not a registration, for your non-profit. Applications are considered before the organisation is officially registered with the Commission. It generally takes about 10 business days for the Charity Commission to approve organisations if all required documentation, including a governing document and a list of trustees, are supplied, and there is no evidence of private benefit to any party. Paper applications are available for individuals who do not have access to a computer by contacting the Charity Commission directly. Paper applications do take longer to process, however.