Tax and Charities
The Revenue Commissioners are responsible for the administration of charitable tax exemptions and for this purpose determine whether a body of persons or a trust claiming the benefit of any exemption is established for charitable purposes only.
Following establishment of the Charities Regulatory Authority, the Revenue Commissioners will remain responsible for the administration of the charitable tax exemption system.
Where a charitable organisation wishes to apply for exemption, it must submit a completed application form, CHY 1.
An applicant body who is refused exemption has a legal right to appeal such refusal to the Appeal Commissioners who are independent of the Revenue Commissioners.
In the first instance, applications for exemption are examined having regard to whether the body concerned is engaged in an activity under either one or more of the following headings:
- Relief of poverty
- Advancement of education
- Advancement of religion
- Other works of a charitable nature beneficial to the community. (N.B. Not all purposes which may be beneficial to the community are charitable in law e.g. the promotion of sport and amateur games is not accepted as being legally charitable. However, approved athletic or amateur games or sports bodies may obtain exemption from Income Tax and Corporation Tax by contacting the Games and Sports Section and aseparate leaflet is available in relation to ‘Sporting Bodies’).
In addition, Revenue requires that the body:
- must be legally established in the State and have its centre of management and control therein. There should be a minimum of three directors/officers/trustees the majority of whom must be resident within the State and the organisation must have a permanent establishment and some operations therein, and;
- must ensure that its objects and powers are so framed that every object to which its income or property can be applied is charitable, and;
- must be bound, as to its main object(s) and the application of its income or property, by a governing instrument, e.g. memorandum and articles of association in the case of an incorporated body or deed of trust, constitution or rules in the case of an unincorporated body.
A body which is granted charitable tax exemption will be issued a charity reference number e.g. CHY 1111 and this CHY number should be quoted in all future correspondence with Revenue.
There is currently no legal framework for the registration of charities in Ireland. The Office of the Revenue Commissioners, Charities Section maintains a database of organizations to which they have granted charitable tax exemption. In granting tax exemption Charities Section give the body a CHY reference number. The full list of bodies granted exemption is published on the Revenue Commissioners website.
All charitable organisations, if applying for tax exemption require a legal structure and a governing instrument. The form of governing instrument best suited to the function of any charity depends very much on the charitable purposes, the planned activities of the charity and how it is proposed to fund these activities. Charitable organisations mainly take one of three legal forms:
- an unincorporated association with a constitution or rules;
- a charitable trust established by trust deed;
- a company governed by a memorandum and articles of association.
Where a charitable organisation wishes to apply for exemption, it must submit a completed application form, (i.e. CHY 1) - click here to download form - to Charities Section, Office of the Revenue Commissioners, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary.
The following documents should be submitted in support of the application:
Copy of the Governing Instrument - in draft format for a charity being newly formed:
- Statement of activities to date and plans for next 12 months, including any trading activities being undertaken/proposed.
- Annual reports and other documentation, if applicable.
- Latest financial statements
- List of names, addresses, occupations and PPS numbers of the officers/trustees/directors.
Additional Revenue Commissioners Resources
Frequently Asked Questions for Charities (Word 61k)