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PCC Charitable Status

All PCCs have deemed charitable status

Up until 31st December 2008 all PCCs were recognised, under Charity Law, as being regarded as charities in their own right, separate from the charity status of their respective Diocesan Board of Finance. They were all said to have “excepted” charitable status which meant that they were regarded as a charity without being required to register with the Charity Commission.

Since January 2009, Charity Law removed the “excepted” status for PCCs whose annual incomes are £100,000 or higher. This means that, since January 2009, these “larger” PCCs need to be registered with the Charity Commission in order to maintain their charity status. If your normal income is £80,000 or less, but exceptionally you exceeded the £100,000 threshold last year due to a grant, legacy or particular building campaign, you can apply for a written determination that you need not register. (Formally, that the basis year would, for example, be 2006 rather than 2007.) Archbishops’ Council have produced a determination not to register letter that you can use as a guide.

Gross income for the purposes of the threshold for registration is that presented in the PCC’s last set of annual accounts. For accounts prepared on a receipts and payments basis, gross income is the total receipts from all sources excluding the receipt of any endowment. For accounts prepared on an accruals basis, gross income is the total incoming resources excluding the receipt of any endowment and including any amount transferred to income funds during the year from endowment funds in order to be available for spending.

PCCs with annual income of less than £100,000 continue to have “excepted” charity status, for the time being, and therefore are not yet required to register with the Charity Commission. This means that, whilst they do have charity status they do not have a registered charity number.  For some grant applications and other purposes, PCCs may be able to verify their charity status by quoting their Inland Revenue “Gift Aid” claims reference number as a substitute, provided that it is made clear that it is the reference number with HM Revenue & Customs as a charity, and not a Charity Commission number. The diocesan registered charity number for the Diocesan Board of Finance  should not be quoted in these circumstances.

More on this topic can be found on the parish resources website, from the following page:
The PCC as a charity

PCC members as trustees

All members of a Parochial Church Council (PCC) are deemed to be Charity Trustees whether or not their PCC is required to register with the Charity Commission. More on this topic can be found on the parish Charity Trustees page.

Charity Registration for PCCs

The Archbishops’ Council have developed specific guidance for Church of England parishes, in consultation with the Charity Commission. They have published this within their “Parish Resources” website.

Recommended pages on the Charity Commission website:


  • Going Deeper into God
  • Making New Disciples
  • Transforming Communities

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