Example question and answer provided by panel member, Emma Prince, Senior Manager, BDO LLP – Nov 2012

Yes, but there are no advantages!

A charity has to have purely charitable purposes but a CIC can be established for any lawful purpose, as long as its activities are carried out for the benefit of the community.  However, even if a CIC has exclusively charitable purposes it cannot be a charity.

Some of the features of a CIC are that it:

Therefore, there are no advantages to establishing your existing charity as a CIC, or even thinking of establishing a CIC instead of a charity.  If you are worried about trading I would recommend establishing a normal trading company and then gift aid any profits back to the Charity.