The Charities (Exception from Registration) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 were laid before Parliament on 2 July and come into force on 1 September 2012. The Regulations extend until 31 March 2014 the temporary exception for certain religious charities from the requirement under the Charities Act 2011 to be registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales.
The Churches to which the continued exception applies are—
- a Church within the meaning of section 2 of the Baptist and Congregational Trusts Act 1951(1);
- a Church affiliated to the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches;
- a member Church of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches;
- the Presbyterian Church of Wales;
- the Church of England;
- the Church in Wales;
- the Methodist Church;
- the Religious Society of Friends; and
- the United Reformed Church.
Comment: The temporary exception from the requirement to register has been extended on several occasions since 1996 – but the suspicion is that this is the last extension. It is unlikely, however, that the Charity Commission would be able to cope with large numbers of small congregations registering simultaneously, so the presumption must be that registration will be staged.
Regulation 2 of The Charities (Exception from Registration) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 SI 242 states:
Amendment to the Charities (Exception from Registration) Regulations 1996
2.—(1) The Charities (Exception from Registration) Regulations 1996(1) are amended as follows.
(2) In regulation 4(1) (temporary exception of certain religious charities connected with certain bodies) for “until 31st March 2014” substitute “until 31st March 2021”.