Independence and accountability in the charity sector are frequently discussed, but such discussions often assume much that demands further exploration. In this paper, I seek to highlight some of what is often assumed. I provide some arguments for why we might want the charity sector to be independent of the state, arguments grounded in core liberal values of diversity and voluntarism. I then explore three types of charity accountability to the state, which I call ‘constitutive accountability’, ‘stakeholder accountability’ and ‘governance accountability’, respectively. I argue that in many ways charity accountability is consistent with, and in some cases may even promote, diversity and voluntarism in the charity sector. However, I also sound a warning: charity accountability can diminish and undermine sector diversity and voluntarism. Where it does, and it cannot be defended in a way that justifies the cost to liberal values associated with it, then it should be wound back or eliminated accordingly.