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The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
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The deemed list and expression of intent

We use the ‘deemed list’ and information provided via an ‘expression of intent’ to call forward these organisations to register.

Deemed charities

Before registration began in December 2013, the law in Northern Ireland deemed charities to be organisations granted charitable tax exemptions through Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Since December 2013, the Commission has been assessing organisations which had been granted charitable tax status by HMRC as at 18 August 2013 to confirm whether or not they meet the legal definition of charity as set out in the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008 (the Act).

Expression of intent

Under the Act the Commission also has the power to call forward any organisation which may be charitable. Every organisation which may be a charity in Northern Ireland must apply to the Commission for registration, when called forward to do so. Any organisation which:

  • has exclusively charitable purposes
  • is governed by the law of Northern Ireland and
  • is an institution, that is, an organisation that is an independent body, the hallmarks of which include having control and direction over its governance and resources

must make the Commission aware of its existence so that it can be called forward in due course. They do this by completing an ‘expression of intent’ form, or via an umbrella body or another reliable source of information may inform the Commission of potential charities.

The Commission will determine whether these organisations meet the legal definition of a charity as set out in the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008 on submission of an application. If an organisation’s registration application is successful, it will become a registered charity and its details will be entered on the public register of charities.

Organisations can check to see if they are included on the deemed list using the Commission’s combined list, which is available here. The combined list details if an organisation: 

  • was deemed by HMRC at 18 August 2013
  • has submitted an Expression of intent form, an umbrella body has provided details or another reliable source has provided details to enable it to be called forward to apply for charity registration at a future date
  • is closed
  • has been refused registration by the Commission
  • has failed to submit an application when they have been called forward to apply
  • is required to contact the Commission to provide call forward details
  • is not yet established
  • registration is not applicable – HMRC has confirmed that some organisations have been included on the deemed list by mistake. Or, for example, the organisation may be a Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC’s) or Community Interest Company (CIC) and cannot be a charity in law.
  • falls under section 167 of the Charities Act - This refers to organisations governed by the law of another jurisdiction but which operate in Northern Ireland. The Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008 calls these ‘section 167 institutions’, this part of the legislation is not yet commenced.

The combined list will be updated on a monthly basis as the Commission continues to process registration applications and receive details of organisations to be called forward for registration. The entries on the combined list which relate to organisations which have failed to apply when called forward by the Commission will be updated quarterly.

Charity registration began in Northern Ireland on Monday 16 December 2013. The register continues to grow. However, given the high number of charitable organisations estimated to be operating in Northern Ireland, registration is expected to take at least a further ten years to complete. 

You can find out more information on the deemed list and how the Commission created its combined list using the links below:

The deemed list background

An initial list of Northern Ireland charities was created on 18 February 2011 under the Charities Act 2008 (Transitional Provision) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011 No. 12. Under that Order, the Commission gained jurisdiction over charities which had been granted tax exemptions applicable to charities. A list of these charities was supplied by HMRC to the Commission. This became known as the “deemed list”.

On 19 August 2013 a new Transitional Provision Order, the Charities Act 2008 (Transitional Provision) Order (Northern Ireland) 2013 No. 211 was made, further increasing the number of charities to which the Commission’s powers apply. This effectively granted the Commission jurisdiction over all Northern Ireland organisations which had registered with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for charitable tax purposes as at 18 August 2013.

Over the remainder of the year, the Commission continued to lay the groundwork for beginning compulsory registration of charities in December 2013.

It is important to note that the deemed list presents only a partial picture of the true landscape - many charities have not applied for charitable tax exemption and therefore do not appear on the deemed list, while some charities on the list may have merged or closed, despite remaining registered with HMRC for tax exemptions and Gift Aid.

Once complete, the Commission's public register of charities, available to search using the green charity register search button at the bottom of this page, will provide a comprehensive list of all charities operating within Northern Ireland, each listed charity having been confirmed by the Commission to exist for charitable purposes and the public benefit.

How the Commission’s combined list was created

In order to manage registration, the Commission has created a single list of all organisations, except those that are registered, called the Combined list.

Deemed charities, as highlighted above, are charitable organisations which had received charitable tax status from HMRC as at 18 August 2013. 

Further information on how organisations waiting to be called forward are categorised can be found here.

The Commission will call forward organisations from this combined list in set tranches over coming years, ensuring that registration can be managed in as fair and an efficient manner as possible given the size of the task. The combined list itself will also continue to be updated as the Commission adds organisations and as the circumstances of organisations already on the list change.  For example, information will be added when an organisation on the list is refused registration, or an organisation has informed us that it has closed. When an organisation becomes registered it is added to the Commission's register of charities and is removed from the combined list.

Some organisations are also considered by the Commission to be special circumstances. These are organisations, which have made a case to have their registration application brought forward for instance or handled as a group, for example they are a new charity and need a registration number to open a bank account or they are part of a grouped registration.