Charitable Status

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A Baptist church is an individual charity in its own right by virtue of its aims and objectives. The advancement of religion is one of the objectives that makes an organisation or activity charitable.

Whilst some BUW churches are incorporated and registered charities, the majority of our churches are unincorporated and unregistered.  It is important to note that whilst your church may not be registered, it remains a charity in its own right and is therfore legally obligated to comply with the rules and regulations of the Charity Commission of England & Wales

For further information on the Charity Commission please visit the Charity Commission’s website.

BUW Churches with an annual income of £5,000 or less

If your annual income is less that £5,000 p.a. you do not need to register with the Charity Commission.

BUW Churches with annual income between £5,000 – 100,000

Churches with an annual income of £5,000 or more or more are usually required to register with the Charity Commission.

However, churches which are in membership with certain denominations, such as the Baptist Union of Wales, with an annual income of £100,000 or less, have excepted charity status.

As a member of the BUW, this means that the church is ‘excepted’ from charity registration and does not need to register or submit annual returns.

However, whilst, the church does not need to register, it remains charity and is subject to the rules and regulations of the Charity Commission.

Please note that the excepting regulations were due to expire in March 2021 but have been extended for a further ten years.

BUW Churches with an annual income of over £100,000

Churches with an annual income over £100,000 need to be registered with the Charity Commission. 

A key element of charity registration will be the preparation of an up to date and comprehensive governing document – i.e., a church constitution. Please note that the BUW does not have an approved governing document for BUW Churches. However, the Baptist Union of Great Britain does have an approved constitution which can be found at

One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways for a church register with the Charity Commission is by becoming a Charitable Incorporated Organisation – CIO.

This new legal structure, introduced in 2013, provides a means for charities to incorporate and gain the benefits currently available to companies without the burden of dual regulation by both the Charity Commission and Companies House. 

A model CIO Constitution for BUW Churches along with explanatory notes can be found on the BUW CIO information page.

If you have any questions concerning charitable status or becoming a CIO please contact Dr Christian Williams –