Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)


A CIO is registered with the Charity Commission, but not with Companies House or the FCA. There are two types – the Association Model, which is controlled by members at the AGM who are not trustees, and the Foundation Model, in which only the trustees are members. In the Foundation Model, new trustees are appointed by the existing trustees, but in the Association Model, new trustees are appointed by the members at the AGM. A CIO only needs to file accounts with the Charity Commission.

Accounting regulations

Must prepare accounts in accordance with:

  • FRS102 (section 1A if applicable)
  • Charities SORP (FRS102)

Receipts and payments accounts are permitted.

Tax implications

  • Exempt from corporation tax on charitable trading, capital gains, and investment income
  • Mandatory Rates Relief (80% business rates reduction)
  • Charitable VAT exemptions and zero-rating reliefs apply
  • Does not normally need to file a corporation tax return


  • Non-profit aim is its main objective, and aims should be consistent with charity law
  • Limited liability
  • SITR may be available on loan stock issued (though this cannot be advertised – see below)
  • VAT, Business Rates and Corporation Tax: see above
  • Grant funders look favourably on charitable registration
  • Easy and cheap to set up


  • The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 applies, so cannot advertise for loan investment from the public
  • Must be audited if income is over £1m (£500k in Scotland)
  • Needs an Independent Examination if income is over £25k – by a qualified accountant if income is over £250k
  • Preparation of accounts and trustees annual report is more complex, time consuming and expensive than for non-charities, due to the application of the Charities SORP.

Services required

  • Accounts preparation
  • Possible submission of Corporation Tax return CT600 with charity pages CT600E
  • Payroll (if employing people)
  • VAT advice, if necessary
  • Book-keeping, if required
  • Independent Examination or audit, as necessary