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Coronavirus: specific measures and support for the charity sector

Coronavirus: specific measures and support for the charity sector

Kevin Cooper

Government Financial Support

It has been announced on Friday 20th March that the Coronavirus job retention scheme will also apply to charities, organisations are able to apply to HMRC for grants to cover 80% of wages backdated to 1 March where employees have been “furloughed” (kept on payroll rather than being laid off). The funding behind this scheme is unlimited, however there will be a £2,500 limit per person through PAYE.

Charities which receive more than 50% of funding through trading activities, are also eligible for Government Backed Business Loans, and those VAT registered have a deferral of VAT and time to pay arrangements with HMRC. The Charity Tax Group have raised a number of points which they argue would help the sector.
Other measures which may help some charitable entities and their trading companies - are the business rate payment holiday and cash grants.


It is already common knowledge that fundraising will become a hard task during the Coronavirus crisis, in the short term it is likely to reduce significantly. Charities will need to consider their own fundraising events. Each charity should review their current plans and put in contingencies, whilst providing the appropriate information to volunteers, participants and attendees.

The Charity Commission have said that if you do need to cancel an event it may need to be reported depending on the impact caused. The reason for reporting is that it may result in a significant loss of expected funds or insolvency issues for the charity.

Due to the Government’s advice on social distancing the Institute of Fundraising have advised all charities to seriously consider their methods of fundraising, including face to face, door to door, and private sites due to putting their fundraisers and volunteers at risk.

A Cross Party group of MPs have asked the Chancellor to support the work undertaken by the charitable sector over this period.


During the Coronavirus crisis the Charity Commission are providing advice on their website to remind charities what should be reported by way of serious incident reporting. It states that it is the “ultimate responsibility of the trustees to continue to report serious incidents using the current guidelines, and we will continue to ask trustees to use their judgement in deciding whether an incident is significant in the context of their charity and should be reported to us.”
  • Annual return filing delay – It was announced by the Charity Commission that any charity that needs an extension to their existing annual return filing deadline are able to contact the Charity Commission to make a request.
  • Guidance – There is specific coronavirus advice published for the charities sector and can be found here
  • Giving to charity – The Charity Commission and Fundraising Regulator are urging people to give ‘safely’ to charities during this time.
Companies House filing

For those entities which are structured as charitable companies and have imminent filing deadlines Companies House have announced that as long as any request is made prior to the filing deadline those companies affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) can apply for more time here.

Further support

At Moore South, we will continue to update this page in the coming days and weeks there will be a lot more information and advice being shared by a wide range of organisations. For funding and fundraising specifically, we will continue to monitor updates from:

• The Institute of Fundraising
• The Fundraising Regulator
• COVID 19 Charity Preparedness Group
• Fundraising Chat

Please contact your local Moore South office for advice in relation to the Coronavirus crisis.