Although much of what a parish treasurer does is common to any charity, there are specific and unique rules that govern Church of England parishes. We are here to provide guidance and support on those matters as well as on parish finance matters generally. Key areas are covered in the pages that follow, but we can also be contacted directly if you have a query that is not covered in them.
Every PCC is required to prepare accounts and have them independently examined or audited each year. Only the largest parishes require an audit. These accounts should be presented at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM), where they are received – not approved. The APCM must be held by 31st May each year and the accounts should be sent to the Diocese within 28 days of the APCM. Accounts should be sent to the parish finance officer, preferably by email. In addition, PCCs which are registered with the Charity Commission must submit an Annual Return and Accounts to the Charity Commission by 31 October each year. There are a number of rules and thresholds which determine the type of accounts, whether an examination or audit is required and whether a PCC should register with the Charities Commission.
In addition to sending a copy of your examined accounts to the Diocese, parishes are also required to submit a Parish Return each year.
Over recent years the process has become digitised and the submission should be made via the Online Parish Returns System which is maintained by the National Church and used by all dioceses. This online system has recently been revised and is easy to use and is not time consuming. You will require a username and password to access the system. If you do not have one or have forgotten the details, you should contact your PCC Secretary or Parish Administrator or your Archdeacon’s office.
The Parish Returns portal for finance returns closes on 28th June each year. The return can be completed once your Annual Accounts and Financial Statements have been approved by the PCC, you do not need to wait until after your APCM. Some treasurers may find it easier to download and print a copy of the form for completion prior to submitting it online. A copy of the form, which includes useful notes on how to complete it, can be found.on the log in page of the Parish Returns portal. There you can find links to a pdf version and an excel version.
You will be asked to indicate which accounting format your Parish Annual Accounts follow – either the Receipts and Payments format or the Accruals format. Parishes with a gross income greater than £250,000 must use the Accruals accounting basis while smaller parishes may choose which basis to use.
The National Church have prepared a User Guide which explains how the system works. You can find this in the Login area under Finance and Fees.
The Archbishops’ Council revise the Fees for Weddings and Funerals annually in January each year.
Detailed guidance including an FAQ can be found here:
Church of England Parochial Fees Guidance
Please contact the Finance Department if the guidance does not answer your query.
Diocesan Fee Returns
Fee Returns should be submitted monthly, together with the corresponding payment.
Fee Return forms are available in both excel or pdf format and can be downloaded from the Login area. Please ensure you are using the correct form for the year in question.
If there are no fees due please submit a nil return.
If you are able to make payment by electronic bank transfer please do so(bank details can be found at the bottom of the Parish Parochial Fees Returns Form).
The Parochial Fees Table and the Forms to submit to the Diocese are revised annually. The current Parish Parochial Fees Returns Form can be found in the Login area. Please send Parochial Fee Returns to Heather Cassidy.