Charity Commission information

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Under charity law, an organisation must apply to register with the Commission, Northern Ireland’s charity regulator, if:

  • it has exclusively charitable purposes
  • it is governed by the law of Northern Ireland
  • it has control and direction over its governance and resources.

This means all charitable organisations in Northern Ireland must apply for registration, irrespective of their size, annual income or whether the organisation is registered with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for charitable tax purposes.

Charity law in Northern Ireland defines 12 descriptions of charitable purpose, including the advancement of amateur sport. To be a charity, each of an organisation’s purposes must fit under one or more of the descriptions and be for the public benefit. All sports organisations who are not registered as Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC) must by law notify The Charity Commission of their intention to register by 31st December 2014.

For further information please see the below document or visit www.charitycommissionni.org.uk

November 2014

Charity begins with registration – take action to prepare now

‘It is a legal requirement for charities in Northern Ireland to register with us so don’t delay, take action today’ – is the latest message from the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.

Under charity law, an organisation must apply to register with the Commission, Northern Ireland’s charity regulator, if:

  • it has exclusively charitable purposes
  • it is governed by the law of Northern Ireland
  • it has control and direction over its governance and resources.

This means all charitable organisations in Northern Ireland must apply for registration, irrespective of their size, annual income or whether the organisation is registered with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for charitable tax purposes.

Charity law in Northern Ireland defines 12 descriptions of charitable purpose, including the advancement of amateur sport. To be a charity, each of an organisation’s purposes much fit under one or more of the descriptions and be for the public benefit.

If a sporting organisation meets the criteria to be a charity, as outlined above, and is not registered or in the process of registering with HMRC as a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC), the organisation must apply to register as a charity when called forward to do by the Commission.

Please note that a CASC cannot apply to register as a charity. For more information on CASCs, you may be interested in the Community Amateur Sports Clubs: detailed guidance notes, available on www.hmrc.gov.uk

In order to prepare for registration in advance, the Commission is now calling on all charities to follow the steps below:

  1. Check the registration lists at www.charitycommissionni.org.uk to ensure the Commission knows you exist and has your contact details for registration. You must do this, and follow the steps outlined as appropriate to your organisation, before the end of December 2014. For example if you are not listed then you will be required to complete and submit a short Expression of Intent form, providing your details to the Commission, before 31 December 2014.
  2. When called forward to apply for registration, use the Commission’s free registration guidance, available under the Registration support tab at www.charitycommissionni.org.uk to prepare your application – or run the risk of having your application rejected.
  3. Do you know a Northern Ireland charity? Ask if they are aware of charity registration, have checked the Commission’s online lists and are ready to apply when called forward to do so by the Commission.

The Commission has already begun the process of registering the thousands of charities in Northern Ireland by calling organisations forward to apply in tranches, with charities currently called forward listed on www.charitycommissionni.org.uk.

However, all charities, whether or not they have heard from the Commission, are being warned that they must take action now to prepare for registration by following the simple steps outlined above.

Frances McCandless, Chief Executive at the Commission, commented: “The online register of charities is now live on the Commission’s website, including information on over 600 charities which have been registered to date.

“Information made public on the register will increase the transparency and accountability of charities, helping to reaffirm public trust and confidence in Northern Ireland’s charities.

“Once the register is complete, it will be the definitive list of charities in Northern Ireland meaning that anyone, anywhere in the world, from funders to volunteers, will be able to go online to check that an organisation is a bona fide and accountable charity.

“So it is vital that all charities take some time now to ensure they are ready for registration by checking the lists on our website www.charitycommissionni.org.uk and following the advice and directions available.”

For more information on registration, including specific guidance on the advancement of amateur sport description of charitable purpose, please visit www.charitycommissionni.org.uk

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