Company information

RSGB Headquarters in Bedford, EnglandHere you will find company information about the RSGB and the answers to some commonly asked questions about the Society’s status

Why is the RSGB a company?

The RSGB is a company in order to limit the financial liability of its members.

If it were an unincorporated entity, then all individual members would be jointly and severally liable for its debts, even though their only contribution was an annual subscription. UK company law provides a limited company structure for membership based organisations like the RSGB. The form is a “private company limited by guarantee”, which limits each member’s liability to a specified amount—in the RSGB’s case this is £1—and this would only be payable if the RSGB was liquidated and could not pay its creditors in full.

Why is the company name not “RSGB Limited” or “RSGB PLC”?

Whilst private limited companies normally include “limited” in the company name, the Society meets the conditions of exemption from this provision. For further information please see www.companieshouse.gov.uk/about/gbhtml/gp1.shtml#ch6.

“PLC” is reserved for public limited companies.

I have heard it said that we are a “not-for-profit” organisation—what does this mean?

The Society aims to break even year on year. Any surplus at the end of a financial year is added to our reserves. No dividends are paid and our directors and other volunteers give their time freely.

Why is the RSGB not a Charity?

Charitable status was fully researched in 2002 and the Board determined that the complexity of setting up and running the RSGB as a Charity with a trading subsidiary outweighed the benefits. The outcome of this was the creation of the Radio Communications Foundation, a registered charity, (Charity number 1100694) and independent of the RSGB, which has now been in existence for 11 years.

Whilst charitable status can bring tax benefits in certain cases, under current legislation the Society pays no corporation tax and although Membership subscriptions may qualify for Gift Aid, there are benefits attached to Membership that will reduce the eligible amount.

Charitable status will be reconsidered if the corporate environment changes.