Category Archives: Charities Commission

Questions, answers and comments about the Charities Commission, annual returns, change of officers or the Charities Act.

Performance Reports (Annual Financial Statements)

For all Methodist entities that report to the Conference of the Methodist Church of New Zealand, a copy of the Performance Report (your annual financial statements) needs to be with the Connexional Office by 5.00pm Thursday 12 October.

If you are NOT able to meet this deadline, please inform the Connexional Office.

Please remember that you are also required to lodge your approved Performance Report with Charities Services as part of the Annual Return.  This needs to be done by 31 December 2017.

Webinar on Annual Reporting – An overview for Tier 3 & 4 Charities


One of the obligations of being a registered charity is reporting to Charities Services every year so you remain registered.  Charities Services are running a seminar and its free.
If you’re a new charity, a new committee member or even an experienced one, join Charities Services for an overview of Annual Reporting to Charities Services for Tier 3 and Tier 4 charities, next Tuesday 27 June at 12pm (approx. 45 minutes).

If you’re confident with the annual reporting process, or if you’re a Tier 1 or 2 charity, this webinar may not be for you as we’ll be covering the basics. But feel free to forward this invitation to anyone else who may be interested.

Which tier is your charity?

Before registering, make sure you know what tier your charity needs to report to. Check out the information on their website.

Can’t make it?

The webinar recording, handout and links to other helpful information will be published on the Charities Services website and linked to on their Facebook page after the webinar (28 June 2017). So you don’t need to ask them for a copy.

They will also send an automated email the following day (28 June 2017) to everyone who registered for the webinar with this information (even if you didn’t attend), so if you can’t make the live event, feel free to register anyway.

Click this link to register.


Service Performance Report – FREE ONLINE SEMINAR

Charities Services is kicking off its Lunchtime Webinar Series with an introduction to the Statement of Service Performance on 13 April 2017 at 12.00pm. IT IS FREE.

The Statement of Service Performance is a non-financial statement required under the new financial reporting standards and it’s important that you know how to use it well. In this webinar we will explain:

  • how to make the Statement of Service Performance work for your charity;
  • what outputs and outcomes are; and
  • how you can use the Statement of Service Performance to celebrate your charity’s successes.

What’s a webinar and how does it work?

A webinar is a seminar or presentation that is delivered online.

You can participate in these sessions from your computer or any mobile device (smart phone or tablet) and it’s free. You just need a reliable internet connection. We also recommend using the internet browser Google Chrome.

All webinars start at 12.00pm and run for approximately 1 hour, unless specified.

We will be talking for around 30 minutes and at the end of the presentation, we will answer some of your questions. The final webinar will be published on our website and can be viewed any time.

The details

Date: 13 April 2017

Time: 12.00pm – 1.00pm

Location: Anywhere with a reliable internet connection

Register here


Annual Return – Charities Services – 30 June 2016

Questions in the updated annual return

I have mentioned that the Annual Return that you complete and send (or complete online) has changed.

This is an outline of the questions that are asked in the updated annual return.  If you complete the annual return online, most general information about your charity will already be there and you can simply check and update BUT there is new information required.  I have highlighted the new requirements in RED with a  beside it also.

General information about your charity

  • Your charity’s legal and other name (including any trading name)
  • The region(s) or country (countries) where your charity operates
  • Charity’s registration number
  • Postal and street address
  • Phone, fax, email, website address and social media (optional)
  • Details of the main contact at your charity: name, phone number and email address
  • End of financial year/balance date, and
  • If there have been any changes to your charity’s rules document.

Officer details – for each officer

  • Full name
  • Date of birth ⊗
  • Officer’s position (for example, treasurer), and
  • Residential address ⊗

Note: Date of birth and residential address remains confidential and will not be available on the public register

Purpose and structure

  • Your charity’s purposes or mission
  • Your charity’s main activity, sector and beneficiary (collected for statistical purposes), and
  • A description of the structure of your charity, including any trading operations (if applicable).

Charity relationships

  • The names (and charity’s registration number, if applicable) of any entities that control or are controlled by your charity for financial reporting purposes. ⊗

 Your People

  • The number of paid full-time and paid part-time employees that work for your charity in an average week, and the approximate number of hours they work
  • The approximate number of volunteers that work for you in an average week or year, and the average number of hours they work.

Financial information

You will need a copy of your financial statements or Performance Report to complete the financial information section of the annual return form.

This section asks for information about your charity’s financial position (which covers things like receipts/income and payments/expenses) and financial performance (which covers resources/assets, commitments/liabilities, equity and other similar information). The questions are based on the minimum categories in the new reporting standards.

  • The tier your charity is reporting in (This affects the financial information you will be required to include in the annual return) ⊗
  • Indicate whether your charity’s performance report or financial statements have been audited or reviewed, and ⊗
  • Whether your charity’s financial statements or performance report discloses any related party transactions. ⊗

In addition, you will need to know whether your charity:

  • In its ordinary course of business, lends money to or on behalf of others, or manages money or funds on behalf of others ⊗
  • Provided goods or services overseas in the last financial year ⊗
  • Used any business income (for example, from the sale of goods or services) for charitable purposes overseas in the last financial year, and ⊗
  • Received donations and used any of its funds for charitable purposes overseas in the last financial year. ⊗

Some other information

In exceptional circumstances, applications can be made for certain information to be withheld from the public register.


Proposed Changes to the Charities Act 2005

Proposed amendments to the Charities Act, being considered right now by a Government Administration Select Committee, would appear to remove the ability of charities to appeal any decisions of the Chief Executive of the Department of Internal Affairs.

The proposed changes have not been communicated clearly nor have they involved the sector as part of a consultation exercise to gain sector support. But it’s not too late, we have until this Friday to stop this happening.

Add your name and comments to this petition, and we’ll compile your comments into a submission to the Select Committee.

The specific impact of this change is that charities lose their ability to appeal decisions of the Chief Executive of the Department of Internal Affairs, who can decide, for example, to refuse access to the charities register, to amend the register, or that the financial statements of a charity fail to comply with a financial reporting standard.

The proposal would remove an important check and balance on the power of the Chief Executive and, in doing so, move further away from a partnership relationship between the community sector and government.

The Government must stop this ongoing process of undermining the charity sector, and the important work charities do to respond to community needs, as they see them, much more efficiently than government, and in innovative and nimble ways. Allowing charities to do that allows them to form an important glue that holds our society together.


Financial Reporting for Small Charities

The XRB and Charities Services invite you to join them for this free webinar.

Designed for accountants and preparers of annual accounts of small charities adopting Tier 3 and Tier 4 standards, this webinar will cover:

  • How the not-for-profit standards fit into the overall financial reporting framework in New Zealand;
  • Differences between the current and former financial reporting requirements;
  • Some detailed aspects of the Tier 3 and Tier 4 standards; and
  • New assurance requirements for charities.

Charities Services has so far received more than 500 financial reports. Learn from the regulators about some common misunderstandings to make sure you can provide compliant financial reports for your clients.

We will be running more webinars for charities in the near future on selected topics. Be sure to keep an eye out for these.

Webinar dates and times:
Tuesday 26 July 2016 at 10.00am-11.30am
Tuesday 26 July 2016 at 1.00pm-2.30pm
Wednesday 27 July 2016 at 7.00pm-8.30pm

Register in advance on the XRB website (click here).

Annual Returns to Charities Services

Charities Services have revised the Annual Return.  There is now one Annual Return for Tier 3 and one Annual Return for Tier 4 registered charities.  They are different and care will need to be taken when filing your Annual Return

The new Annual Return has a number of new questions and is longer.  I would strongly suggest that you print them out and look through them now so that you are prepared when you go online and complete the form.

Who those who will elect Tier 1 or 2, there is no paper based Annual Return.  The Return is online only (that is our understanding) so there are no links provided.

The Connexional Office will provide some guidelines on how to complete the new sections in due course. – Tier 3 Annual Return Link – Tier 4 Annual Return Link

Annual Returns – Charities Services

It’s that time of year again……

Just a reminder that most Methodist entities who are registered with Charities Services will need to have their Annual Returns filed with Charities Services by 31 December 2015.

These can be done online ( or by sending then a hard copy (hard copy can be found here).  It costs more to send a hard copy of the Annual Return so do it online. Remember that you will need to attach your annual accounts with the Annual Return also.  At the same time as going your Annual Return, it’s a good idea to check who Charity Services thinks are your officers.  If they have them wrong, you are able to update them as part of the Annual Return process.  Remember that the Officers of a Parish are the Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer and Parish Stewards.

If you cannot remember your password, then let either Greer or me know and we will see what we have, otherwise we can get it changed for you.  I find that it takes between 10 and 15 minutes to do the return online.  If you have any issues, please contact me.

Please note that I need to inform the General Secretary of any entity who has not filed their Annual Return by the 31 December 2015.

Charities Services – XRB Training – Tier 3 and 4 Financial Reporting Standards

New Reporting Standards – additional seminars in October

The External Reporting Board (XRB), in conjunction with Charities Services are holding seminars to update registered charities on the new accounting requirements that become mandatory in 2015.  I would strongly encourage you to attend or become part of the webinar.

The XRB is managing the registration process for the seminars. Click here to go to XRB’s website for seminar locations and times, and to register for a seminar.

Webinar 29 October

There will also be a two-hour webinar on Wednesday the 29th of October at 9am. This is a live web broadcast of the presentations that will be made at next month’s seminars. Anyone can register for the webinar, and once you are registered you will be able to ask questions during the broadcast. You can register at the webinar registration page. The webinar will be published at a later date on the XRB website.

About the seminars

The free, two-hour seminars are aimed at registered charities with annual operating expenditure less than $2 million. These charities will be able to report using Simple Format Reporting standards.

The seminars will include:

  • The new legislative requirements for registered charities to follow XRB Accounting Standards from 1 April 2015
  • An overview of the Simple Format Reporting Standards
  • How the final standards differ from the proposed standards as a result of consultation with the sector during 2013 (which was the focus of the last seminar series)
  • What charities need to do now to get ready to apply the Simple Format Reporting Standards next year, and
  • Future opportunities to learn more about the standards and how to apply them.

Registration queries

If you have any questions about registering for these seminars, please email the External Reporting Board at

Annual Returns to Charities Services

This is my annual reminder that for all registered charities whose end of financial year is the 30 June 2014 (99% of all Methodist entities), that they are required by the Charities Act to make an annual return by 31 December 2014.

You can do this either online or by downloading the Annual Return Form (Form 4) from Charities Services website (  The cost of filing online is lower than filing a paper based return.

You will need your annual accounts completed when you make the annual return as these have to be attached and sent to Charities Services also.

If Annual Returns are not filed, then the registered charity could be deregistered.  If this were to happen, then it places that registered entity at risk from not being a “donee” organisation for tax purposes (cannot issue donation receipts for offering, bequests and other donations) and also may impose income tax obligations on the Officers of the deregistered entity due to recent changes in the Income Tax Act.

For those entities within the Church who do not lodge their returns by the 31 December, the Church has introduced a new protocol to ensure that Annual Returns are made.  The protocol requires me to inform the General Secretary, the Synod Superintendent (or similar person if the entity does not report to a Synod, such as the Chairperson of the Board) that an Annual Return has not been completed by the due date.  In addition, I will be required to report this to the Board of Administration at their next meeting.