Audit exemptions

We can exercise a power to substitute an independent examination in place of an audit, but we will only do so when an exceptional case is made by the charity.

How we consider applications for audit exemptions

Parliament sets the audit thresholds and requirements with specific consideration of the public interest in charity and they need to maintain high standards of accountability to maintain public confidence in charity.

In using our powers, we do not do so lightly. Our approach is that the increase in audit thresholds has resulted in a more focussed targeting of the audit regime. We will not therefore agree dispensations unless there are truly exceptional circumstances.

When considering whether to offer dispensation, consideration will be given to the exceptional circumstances outlined by the applicant. The charity must demonstrate that the circumstances arising are on a ’one-off’ basis and show that the exceptional circumstances and the nature of the funds otherwise subject to audit are such that there is a reduced risk to the charity to justify a lower standard of external scrutiny.

Our operational guidance sets out the grounds for granting a dispensation. If applying for a dispensation, please provide all the information requested.

Operational guidance - OG15 sB3

For accounting periods beginning on or after 1 April 2008, audit dispensations from audits under the Charities Act can be granted to eligible small charitable companies where audit exemption has first been claimed under the Companies Act.

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