The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (the Commission) has now commenced compulsory charity registration. This is different from registration with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for charitable tax exemptions, so even if you have an HMRC registration number, you must still apply for registration with the Commission.

Benefits from Registration include being able to apply for charitable tax relief for organisations not yet recognised by HMRC and access to funding streams only available to registered charities.

It is compulsory to apply to register with the Commission IF your organisation is or could be; charitable(has exclusively charitablepurposes). Public benefit is at the heart of what it means to be a charity. More information on is available in the Commission’s statutory guidance, The public benefit requirement.There are no exceptions or exemptions

  • There are 12 descriptions of charitable purpose, which include the advancement of amateur sport. Guidance on all 12 descriptions is available at charitycommissionni.org.uk.
  • According to estimates there are more than 7,000 charities currently operating in Northern Ireland and therefore the Commission is rolling registration out in a managed process, with charities called forward to register in tranches.
  • Tranches are drawn from the Commission’s registration list, which details organisations the Commission is aware of for registration): This list is available to view atcharitycommissionni.org.uk. You can also see what organisations have been called forward to apply for registration date via the tranche list, which is also on the Commission’s website
  • You can find out more about charity registration, including, using the following links:Are you on the Commission’s registration list (includes link to Expression of Intent form)?; Registration support.
  • It is compulsory for all organisations operating in Northern Ireland who have or could have exclusively charitable purposes to apply for charity registration.
  • You can do this by checking the Commission’s online registration list oncharitycommissionni.org.ukand following the outlined steps as appropriate.
  • If you are not listed, or in any doubt whether you should register, in the first instance, you should complete the Commission’s online Expression of intentform.
  • An alternative is to become a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) and register with HMRC. CASCs cannot apply to register as a charity.For more information on CASCs, see a summary outline below or go toCommunity Amateur Sports Clubs: detailed guidance notes, available on hmrc.gov.uk

For further information contact the Commission (admin@charitycommissionni.org.uk)or go to the website, www.charitycommissionni.org.uk.

The key conditions required to being a CASC;

A club must meet the following requirements in practice as well as having these as requirements in the club’s rules. Clubs must;

  • Be open to the whole community
  • Be organised on an amateur basis; and
  • Have as its main purpose providing facilities for, and promoting participation in one or more eligible sports