Winding Up a Charity

There are many reasons why you may be considering winding up your charity: funding may no longer be available; you may be merging your organisation with another non-profit, or the original purpose and mission of your organisation may have been achieved. 

Even if you are changing the legal structure of your charity, moving from an unincorporated structure to a company, for example, then you will need to wind up the original organisation as part of that process.

Regardless of the reason why you are at the point of winding your charity up, you need to be fully aware of your legal and financial obligations throughout the cessation process. You should first consult your constitution which will set out the powers that trustees have in this area and any particular considerations around winding up.

Guidance from the Charities Regulator

The Charities Regulator requires all charities that are winding up to notify them. The Regulator will act to protect the assets and charitable purpose of the charity, and will re-distribute any charity funds remaining to an organisation with a similar purpose. You should note the particular requirements of the “winding up” clause in your charity’s constitution.

In order to help charities through this process, the Charities Regulator has produced this practical guide to Winding Up A Charity.

Guidance from the Revenue Commissioners

The Revenue Commissioners have also published guidelines in this area, for charities that have registered for the Charitable Tax Exemption:

Legal Resources

You may need to get specialist advice as you work through the process - the list of reduced cost and pro bono legal resources on this page might be useful.