Charitable Community Benefit Society

Suitable for an organisation which, although owned and controlled democratically by a variety of stakeholders, operates for public benefit.

Model Key Features

  • Governing Act: Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014.
  • Suitable for societies that intend to operate for public benefit and be recognised as a charity for tax purposes with HMRC.
  • Includes a Common Ownership Dissolution provision.
  • Includes optional provisions to enable a society to issue withdrawable share capital up to the statutory limit, or what is more commonly known as “a community share offer.” Alongside this is an optional provision to pay interest on this share capital within the limits of the FCA’s guidance which mirrors that published by the Charity Commission.

Download the model here.

What is a charitable community benefit society?

A charitable community benefit society* is charitable body that is democratically owned and controlled by those who support the philanthropic and social purposes of the society.  Currently, charity law does not permit such societies to register with, or report to the Charity Commission and as such they are not listed on the register of charities and do not have a registered charity number that they can display to make the public aware that the society is charitable.  HMRC decides whether charitable societies are eligible for charity tax reliefs. Such charities are referred to as exempt charities in law, but can also be referred to as  charities for tax purposes.

Charitable societies often meet hurdles when applying for funding as often the funding body does not understand the charity's legal structure. However, like registered charities, such societies must comply with charity law in particular they are required to adopt a charitable constitution, known as 'rules,' must have wholly charitable objects and exist to benefit the public and so can, in this respect, meet the same eligibility requirements to access charitable funding.

*charitable community benefit societies are exempt charities as set out in Schedule 3 of the Charities Act 2011.  

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will only process registrations using Co-operatives UK model governing documents if consent is provided. To engage Co-operatives UK in the registration process email [email protected]. Our registration service ensures that the correct model rules are being used; any changes made to model rules are in line with the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014; and that the society's application meets the conditions for registration. More information can be found here.