On 1 January 2018, new rules came into force allowing charitable companies to convert into charitable incorporated organisations, or CIOs.

The CIO is a legal form designed especially for charities.  Like charitable companies, CIOs are incorporated, but they only need to register with the Charity Commission and not with Companies House.  The CIO was introduced as a legal form in 2013 and now accounts for over half of new charity registrations. 

Up until now, charitable companies wishing to convert to CIO status have needed to go through a cumbersome process involving the creation of a completely new legal vehicle.

The new conversion mechanism allows charitable companies to change their legal status to that of a CIO using a relatively straightforward procedure, involving two members’ resolutions and an application to the Charity Commission.  Following conversion, the charity retains its legal personality.  This means it keeps its registered charity number, and generally speaking its legal relationships will be unaffected.  Its registration with Companies House is cancelled and it will no longer be governed by company law.

Read more about the process and timetable.