Guidance for Charities

Please find below guidance documents for your information and advice

The Charities Regulator endeavours to provide guidance and advice relating to all aspects of our work.

The organisation was established under the Charities Act 2009 and we have included a copy of that document here for reference.

If you are considering applying for charitable status, we have produced and published a suite of guidance documents to help with the consideration and submission of your application.  These documents also provide advice about governance and best practice.

General

Governance

Charities Governance Code Toolkit - Guidance Notes and Templates

Charity trustees are responsible for the governance of their charity and should make sure that the six principles of the Charities Governance Code are being applied.  In order to assist and provide practical support to charity trustees in their efforts, the Charities Regulator is committed to developing a suite of guidance documents and templates.  To download a document, click on the document title below to access it.

Trustees

Finance

Model Constitutions & Clauses

'MyAccount' (Charity Registration IT System) - User Guides

Charity Services Unit

The below Charity Services Unit user guides are relevant only to charities and other persons who wish to submit an application pursuant to the Charities Acts 1961 and 1973 (as amended) through our online portal, MyAccount.  On the left of the MyAccount home screen, click ‘Charity Services’ and select your application type to begin.  Most applications generate a PDF form of a statutory declaration based on the information submitted online, which can be amended and must be signed and uploaded to submit your application.  These applications are often submitted by professional advisors on behalf of charities.  It is advisable for applicants to take independent legal advice before submitting an application.

Please note that the mechanism for the Appointment of New Trustees to charitable property described below in general applies only to certain charities who cannot make an appointment of trustees to real property held for charitable purposes without applying to the Charities Regulator.  If you wish to simply update the Register of Charities maintained by the Charities Regulator regarding the recent appointment and retirement of charity trustees to your charity, please complete a Maintain Trustees form through MyAccount and upload the declaration available on MyAccount.

  • 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.

    Appointment of New Trustees - User Guide (PDF document)

  • 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).

    Concerns regarding sales of charity land (PDF Document)

  • 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.

    Cy-Près Application - User Guide (PDF document)

  • 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.

    Opinion or Advice - User Guide (PDF document)

  • 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).

    Approval of Compromise - User Guide (PDF document)

  • 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.

    Charitable Bequest Form - User Guide(PDF Document)

  • 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.

    Alteration of Schemes - User Guide (PDF document)

  • 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

    Statutory Declaration (WORD doc)

    Application Form of Authorisation under the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme (WORD doc)

Charitable Bequests

  • 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 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 protected] ; 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.