Charity Services - Charities Acts 1961 and 1973 Applications
The Charity Services Unit is responsible for managing requests for the consent or direction of the Charities Regulator in relation to practical matters which affect how certain charities deal with their property, assets, internal governance or continue to provide services to their beneficiaries.
Charities or other persons which intend to sell charitable property, appoint new trustees, wind up their operations, merge with other charities, commence legal proceedings or enter other transactions relating to charity assets need to consider with their legal advisors whether the consent of the Charities Regulator may be required for the proposed course of action, due to limitations in their governing documents, legal constraints or the terms of the original trusts on which their charity assets are held. Some charities already have the power to carry out these changes and do not require consent, but depending on the course of action contemplated, the charity may still be required to notify the Charities Regulator in advance.
Applications may be made by charities and other persons under the Charities Acts 1961 and 1973, as amended. The Charity Services Unit incorporates the functions previously vested in the Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests for Ireland (CCDB). These functions were transferred to the Charities Regulator further to section 82 of the Charities Act 2009, following the dissolution of the CCDB pursuant to Part 6 of the Charities Act 2009.
The CCDB were established by Statute in 1844 to ensure ‘the more effectual application of charitable donations and bequests in Ireland’. The CCDB were mandated under the Charities Acts 1961 and 1973 to provide services to trustees of charities and to assist in the carrying out of the intentions of persons making donations and bequests to charity.
This section outlines what types of applications may be made and how to make an application to the Charity Services Unit of the Charities Regulator using the online portal, MyAccount.
Please note the following: All applications are now submitted online, via the Charities Regulator 'MyAccount' system.Before you submit an application for any of the services we provide to charities, you must either login or create a new account in 'MyAccount' You will find more information about this system by clicking this link here.Please read the User Guide(s) relevant to your application before starting the process, as they also outline the list of requirements for each application.You must ensure that all charities the subject of your application to the Charity Services Unit are up to date as regards their obligations to file an annual report (section 52 of the Charities Act 2009) and that the applicant charity’s details on the Register of Charities are correct and up to date.You must submit a copy of the latest governing document for all charities the subject of your application. If your application involves a property holding company, its constitution should be submitted in addition to the governing document of the registered charity.All charity trustees should be up to date as per the public Register of Charities and you should Search the Register in advance of making an application to the Charity Services Unit. If there have been any changes to the charity trustees, you should submit Maintain Trustees forms through MyAccount before submitting your application to the Charity Services Unit.
Application Review Process
Applications within the remit of the Charity Services Unit of the Charities Regulator are considered for determination at Board meetings which are pre-arranged for set times throughout the year. There are 9 meetings scheduled each year. Preliminary meeting dates are set out below. Applications are first considered by the Charity Services Committee (“CSC”), which may make a recommendation to the Board of the Charities Regulator (the “Board”) for decision, or may seek further documentation or responses to queries before making a recommendation. Determinations cannot be made other than at a meeting of the Board. Notice of determinations therefore does not issue to applicants until after a meeting of the Board has taken place. In many cases, applications are considered by the CSC and the Board on a number of occasions before a final determination may be made. Applicants should take account of this in their planning.
- Please check the documentation requirements for your application type before making a submission, which are available at the User Guides section of our webpage below.
- All applications undergo a completeness check before undergoing a legal review. During this check further application documentation or responses to queries may be required before an application is considered.
- If your initial application is not complete, it will be returned and this will delay the entire process, as it must undergo a further completeness check when resubmitted.
- Warning – applications which are not complete, or which are submitted by or on behalf of charities which are not compliant and up to date with their obligations to submit an annual report and to maintain their trustee and charity details will be returned.
- Non-compliant charities may also be referred to the Compliance and Enforcement Unit of the Charities Regulator, which has powers to impose sanctions on the charity/charity trustees for non-compliance.
- Once we have the required documentation and queries raised during the initial legal review phase have been fully addressed, the application is referred to the CSC; and then to the Board.
- The CSC may issue recommendations to the Board and only the Board may make determinations.
- Applications must be submitted at least one month in advance of the Board meeting in order to be considered for addition to the meeting agenda.
- Submission of a complete application in time does not guarantee that a matter will be listed for inclusion on the next meeting agenda. Due to the volume of correspondence and applications received, there may be a delay in responding to queries in relation to the status of applications.
- Preliminary meeting dates are set out below and are subject to change without notice.
- The application process is part of a legal process and it may take several months to complete – factors include the completeness of the initial submission, the type and complexity of the application and the volume of other applications.
User Guides and Application Forms for the following:
1. Appointment of New Trustees
The Charities Regulator may appoint trustees of a charitable trust (or to a particular property held on charitable trusts) either to fill a vacancy or as additional trustees under section 43 of the Charities Act 1961 (as amended by section 14 of the Charities Act 1973 and section 82 of the Charities Act 2009). This usually occurs where a charity no longer has any living trustees appointed.
Charities should first consider with their legal advisors if the default statutory provisions of the Trustee Act 1893 are of assistance, before seeking to make an application to the Charities Regulator. Appointments may be made in substitution for or in addition to any existing trustee or trustees, where no power of appointment is contained in the charity’s constitution/governing document or the deed relating to the property; or where there is no surviving trustee; and the last trustee’s legal personal representatives are not available to make the appointment. The application may be made by the trustee or trustees of the charity or, if they cannot be found, by any person having an interest in the charity property.
An application to appoint new trustees is made by way of a Statutory Declaration which is generated by 'MyAccount' through populating required information.
A section 55 declaration / statement of willingness to act must be signed by all persons who are proposed to act as trustees of charity property. If a bare trust property holding company or other body corporate is proposed to be appointed as trustee, the section 55 declaration should be amended accordingly and must be signed on behalf of the company, in accordance with the relevant provisions of its constitution.
You must submit a copy of the latest governing document for all entities the subject of your application. If your application involves a property holding company, its constitution should be submitted in addition to the governing document of the registered charity.
2. Application for Disposition of Charity Property
In general, applications for consent to the disposition of charity property are required where the trustees do not otherwise have the power to make the disposition according to the trusts of the registered charity on which the property is held; and there is no other restriction on title which means consent is required. Charities should consider with their legal advisors before making an application if consent is actually required, or if the charity already has the power to make the disposition. For example, if the registered charity’s governing document (that was in force when the property was acquired) states that the charity has the power to make the disposition, it would not generally be required to seek the consent of the Charities Regulator to the proposed disposition provided the disposition is considered by the trustees to be of benefit and advantageous to the charity. Every property title and situation is however unique and should be considered in all the circumstances and in conjunction with the relevant legislation in advance of making an application.
Section 34 of the Charities Act 1961 (as amended) (where applicable) requires applications for dispositions to be made by the trustees of a charity. Where a bare trust property holding company holds legal title to a charity’s property, the application for consent to a disposition (if required) must be made by both the trustees of the registered charity (as beneficial owner) and the officers of the property holding company (as legal owner).
In practice, at least two thirds of the registered charity trustees must sign the application form on behalf of the registered charity (see further section 55 of the Charities Act 1961). If an individual is both a charity trustee of the registered charity and an officer of a property holding company, they may need to sign the form twice (and make clear in what capacity they are signing). It is not sufficient for only the property holding company to make the application. Application forms which are not correctly signed on behalf of the registered charity will be returned and this will increase processing times.
Applications may take a number of months to process and should be submitted well in advance of the proposed completion date specified in the Special Conditions to the Contract for Sale, which is in practice often tied to the issuing of a determination from the Charities Regulator.
All consent to sale applications must include a fully signed contract, a detailed valuation report from an independent auctioneer dated within the last 6 months certifying the full Open Market Value (OMV) of the property together with confirmation of the recommended asking price and a copy of the brochure for sale; its marketing history; a copy of the Deed vesting the property in the charity; a map of the property being sold together with details of the area; the governing document for the registered charity setting out the charitable trusts affecting the property; and the constitution of the property holding company (if any).
i. Consent to a Sale of Charity Property for Full Value
Under section 34(1) of the Charities Act 1961 (as amended by section 11 of the Charities Act 1973 and section 82 of the Charities Act 2009) the Charities Regulator may authorise the sale or disposition of lands held upon charitable trusts where the trustees do not otherwise have the power.
ii. Consent to a Transfer / Sale of Charity Property between Charities for less than Full Value
Under section 34(2) of the Charities Act 1961 (as amended by section 11 of the Charities Act 1973 and section 82 of the Charities Act 2009), the Charities Regulator may authorise the transfer or sale of lands held upon charitable trusts, where the trustees do not otherwise have such power.
NOTE: The Charities Regulator does not have power to sanction sales of charity property for less than full value unless the sale is to a charity with a different charitable purpose.
iii. Consent to a Lease of Charity Property
Under section 37 of the Charities Act 1961 (as amended by section 13 of the Charities Act 1973 and section 82 of the Charities Act 2009), the Charities Regulator may authorise a lease of lands held upon charitable trusts where the trustees do not otherwise have such power.
NOTE: The Charities Regulator does not have power to sanction leases of charity property for less than a full market rent unless the lease is to a Charity with a different charitable purpose.
iv. Consent to a Surrender of a Lease of Charity Property
Under section 34(1) of the Charities Act 1961 (as amended by section 11 of the Charities Act 1973 and section 82 of the Charities Act 2009), the Charities Regulator may authorise a surrender of a lease held upon charitable trusts where the trustees do not otherwise have such power.
v. Consent to a Mortgage of Charity Property
Under section 34(4) of the Charities Act 1961 (as amended by section 11 of the Charities Act 1973 and section 82 of the Charities Act 2009), the Charities Regulator may authorise the mortgage of a charity property held upon charitable trusts where the trustees do not otherwise have such power.
vi. Consent to an Exchange of Charity Property
Under Section 34(1) of the Charities Act 1961 as amended by section 11 of the Charities Act 1973 and section 8 of the Charities Act 2009, the Charities Regulator may authorise the exchange of lands held upon charitable trusts where the trustees do not otherwise have such power.
3. Cy-Près Application
The Charities Regulator has the power to settle schemes applying charity property Cy-Près (as near as possible to the intentions of the original donor) under section 29 of the Charities Act 1961 (as amended by section 8 of the Charities Act 1973, Part 2 of the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2002 and section 82 of the Charities Act 2009).
The basis for a cy-près application is set out in the circumstances specified in section 47(1) of the Charities Act 1961 and the statutory declaration should refer to these circumstances as they apply to the charity/charitable gift in question. Please provide as much detail as possible, including the relevant history, up to date valuations (where appropriate) and full details of the proposed use of the funds/property. Where documents are referred to in the statutory declaration, please append clearly labelled exhibits.
Please note there are several stages in a cy-près application, in general, as follows: (1) initial application and review – approval in principle; (2) consideration of draft cy-près scheme prepared by the applicant; (3) publication of the public notice for a period of one month (4) consideration of objections / suggestions (if any) (5) sealing of the cy-près scheme.
4. Opinion or Advice
Under section 21 of the Charities Act 1961 (as amended by section 82 of the Charities Act 2009), the Charities Regulator may advise trustees who have a difficulty in relation to the administration of a charitable trust, or executors experiencing difficulty in administrating a charitable devise or bequest under their control.
5. Approval of Compromise
The Charities Regulator may sanction a compromise in relation to a claim made by or against a charity under section 22 of the Charities Act 1961 (as amended by section 82 of the Charities Act 2009).
6. Charitable Bequest Forms
The Charities Regulator examines Charitable Bequest Forms received from the Probate Office supplying details of all charitable bequests.
Solicitors will be aware that, when lodging applications for Grants where the Will contains a charitable legacy, they are required to lodge an additional form titled the ‘PAS3 form’ for transmission by the Probate Office to the Charities Regulator in compliance with the statutory obligations of the Probate Office under the Charities Acts.
The Probate Office and the Charities Regulator have introduced a slightly revised practice whereby solicitors applying for Grants where the will contains a charitable legacy must complete a new electronic form titled the ‘Charitable Bequest Form’ which replaced the existing PAS3 Form.
This revised practice came into operation with effect from 1 October 2019. Solicitors are requested to co-operate with the Probate Office and the Charities Regulator in implementing this new practice.
The new ‘Charitable Bequest Form’ must be submitted electronically to the Charities Regulator via the Charities Regulator’s ‘MyAccount’ system and in addition must be downloaded and printed for signing by the solicitor and lodging with the application for a Grant to the Probate Office.
Before the Charitable Bequest Form may be submitted, a solicitor must either login or create a new account in the Charities Regulator’s ‘MyAccount’ system. You will find more information about this system by visiting the ‘MyAccount’ page https://www.charitiesregulator.ie/en/myaccount. Further information about the Charitable Bequest Form may be obtained by visiting the Charities Regulator website https://www.charitiesregulator.ie/en/information-for-charities/charities-acts-1961-and-1973-applications.
7. Alteration of Schemes
Under section 30 of the Charities Act 1961 (as amended by section 82 of the Charities Act 2009) the Charities Regulator may alter any scheme framed and approved under the Educational Endowments (Ireland) Act 1885.
8. Vesting Charitable Leasehold Property Free from Onerous Covenants where the Lessor or his Successor is Unknown or Cannot be Traced
The Charities Regulator may make Vesting Orders freeing charity property from the operation of onerous covenants in leases made pursuant to the Leases for Schools (Ireland) Act 1881 and other leases for charitable purposes, where the person entitled to the lessor’s interest is unknown or cannot be found, under section 6 of the Charities Act 1973 (as amended by section 82 of the Charities Act 2009).
9. Consent to a Disposition of Charity Lands pursuant to the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002 or Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012
(PDF) - Requirements for the Consent to a Disposition of Charity Lands pursuant to the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002 or Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012
Charitable Bequests - Frequently Asked Questions
How do I file a Charitable Bequest Form?
The ‘Charitable Bequest Form’ (formerly PAS3 form) must be submitted electronically to the Charities Regulator via the Charities Regulator’s MyAccount system and the paper form must be submitted with your application for a Grant of Probate to the Probate Office/District Probate Registry. After the issue of the Grant of Probate, receipts for the payment of charitable bequests to beneficiaries i.e. a letter or other written correspondence from the registered charity confirming that they have received the bequest, must be submitted on behalf of the estate to the Charities Regulator. Key points of information:
- You do not need to be approved on our system as an Authorised Filer for a charity to file a Charitable Bequest Form. As with all Charity Services Unit applications, anyone can sign up for a user account on MyAccount and file a form. By filing a form, you confirm that the information submitted is correct and that you are authorised on behalf of the estate to make the filing.
- If you are a Legal Personal Representative/Executor making a filing on behalf of the estate and there is no solicitor acting in the estate administration, please insert your address in the “Solicitor details” section on the online form and note there is no solicitor involved.
- One online form should be filled out with details of all charitable bequests specified in the Will of the Deceased. This should include details of any charitable bequests of the residue if a charity is a residuary beneficiary. If several forms are completed in respect of one estate, your application will be returned with a request that all charitable bequests are included on one form. This will result in a delay in the processing of your application.
- The Charitable Bequest Form will be generated from the online form in MyAccount. The PDF must be downloaded and printed for signing by the solicitor acting in the estate administration or by the legal personal representative(s)/executor(s).
- When you have generated the PDF of the Charitable Bequest Form, you will be issued with a Submission Reference (SR) number. You should handwrite the SR number on top of the form and note it for your file. Please quote the SR number in all future correspondence.
- When the form has been signed, you must open your draft filing in MyAccount and upload it to the application. You must then (1) submit the signed form online to the Charities Regulator; and (2) lodge the paper form with your application for a Grant of Probate to the Probate Office/District Probate Registry.
- Please note that due to the volume of applications received, after a Grant of Probate issues, it takes several months for Charitable Bequest Forms to be processed. You may submit receipts for payments of charitable bequests (1) by uploading them via MyAccount correspondence, quoting the SR number; or (2) by email quoting the SR number to email@example.com ; or (3) by sending them by registered post, quoting the SR number to: Charity Services Unit, Charities Regulator, 3 George's Dock, IFSC, Dublin 1, D01 X5X0, Ireland; or (4) by delivering them to our office, quoting the SR number.
What must I do if the Will contains a clause which establishes a new charitable trust / charitable organisation?
Legal Personal Representatives/Executors should seek professional independent legal advice if it appears that a clause in the Will of a Deceased establishes a new charitable trust / charitable organisation. Useful information in relation to the obligations to register a new charity with the Charities Regulator pursuant to the Charities Act 2009 is available under the following section on our website: Apply for Charitable Status
If a Will establishes a new charitable trust, the trustees also have duties to maintain and file details of the trust on the Central Register of Beneficial Ownership of Trusts (CRBOT) via Revenue’s website. Further information is available under “Charitable Trusts” below on the FAQ section of our website. The Charities Regulator is not responsible for CRBOT.
The scheduled dates of meetings of the Board of the Charities Regulator (the Board) and the Charity Services Committee (CSC) in 2022 are as follows. Please read the section entitled “Application Review Process” and other relevant guidance above before submitting an application to the Charity Services Unit of the Charities Regulator. Please note these dates are preliminary and are subject to change without notice.
Charity Services Committee (CSC) and the Board of the Charities Regulatory Authority Dates 2022
Charity Services Committee (CSC)
Charities Regulatory Authority (Board)
Tues, 11th January
Thurs, 20th January
Thurs, 10th February
Thurs, 24th February
Thurs, 10th March
Thurs, 24th March
Thurs, 5th May
Thurs, 19th May
Weds, 15th June
Thurs, 23rd June
Thurs, 13th July
Thurs, 21st July
Thurs, 8th Sept
Thurs, 22nd Sept
Thurs, 13th Oct
Thurs, 20th Oct
Thurs, 10th Nov
Thurs, 24th Nov
If you have another query, relating to Charities Acts 1961 and 1973 Applications, but not outlined above, please contact us using the Query Form on the 'Contact Us' page. Select 'Charity Services' from the drop down list under 'Category', or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please refer to the Registered Charity Number (RCN) of the charity in respect of which you are enquiring. You may search for the RCN here: Search the Register
If your query refers to an existing application, you should open the MyAccount messaging page (accessible from the menu on the left of the home page) and replying to an existing message relating to your application in your inbox. You must quote your Submission Reference (SR) number in all correspondence.