Registering a new charity
Application for registration as a Northern Ireland charity is compulsory if your organisation is, or will be, charitable. This means an organisation must apply to the Commission to register as a charity in Northern Ireland if:
- it has exclusively charitable purposes
- it is governed by the law of Northern Ireland
- it is an institution, that is, it is an organisation that is an independent body, the hallmarks of which include having control and direction over its governance and resources.
This is irrespective of size, annual income or whether the organisation has already applied to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for charitable tax exemptions.
If you have started a new charity in Northern Ireland and you would like to apply to HMRC for charitable tax status, you will need to successfully register as a charity with the Commission first. Please follow the first steps outlined below to provide your details to the Commission to be called forward to apply for registration.
If you are a charity already operating in Northern Ireland and would like to find out more about registration, you can check if you are on one of the Commission’s registration lists and the next steps you should follow, as approriate to your organisation, here.
If you have started a new charity which has exclusively charitable purposes, is governed by the law of Northern Ireland and has control and direction over its governance and resources, please complete the Commission’s online Expression of intent form.
Please note that you will need to successfully register as a charity with the Commission in order to apply to HMRC for charitable tax exemptions. If you would like to apply to HMRC charitable tax status, you should outline this in the special circumstances box when completing the Expression of intent form.
If you are considering starting a new charity, we would also encourage you read our relevant guidance, available in the Things to consider before starting a charity section of our website. This will help you decide whether setting up a new charity is the right thing to do, and whether or not you need to register.