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The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
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The deemed list

In order to work with, and regulate, charities in Northern Ireland, the Commission must first be able to categorise which organisations are charities.

Before registration began in December 2013, this was technically not possible. At that time, 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).

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. These may be new organisations or organisations which have not applied for charitable tax exemptions from HMRC.

The Commission will determine whether these ‘non-deemed’ organisations meet the legal definition of a charity as set out in the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008. If an organisation’s registration application is successful, it will no longer be considered to be “deemed” or “non deemed” but will become a registered charity with its details included on the public register of charities.

Organisations can check to see if they are included on the deemed list using the Commissions combined list, which is available here. This is a list of all organisations the Commission is aware of to call forward for registration and details if an organisation: 

  • is deemed or non-deemed 
  • has been registered by the Commission
  • is closed
  • has been refused registration by the Commission
  • is required to contact the Commission to provide further contact details for registration.

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.

The Commission is urging all established charitable organisations in Northern Ireland which are still not registered to prepare for registration now by checking if they are included on this list and, if not, completing a short, online Expression of intent form. If you are a new charity, you must also complete an Expression of intent form, noting that you are a new charity in the special circumstances box. By completing this form, you will be providing the Commission with details of your charity in order to be called forward for registration as part of a future registration tranche. 

Charity registration began in Northern Ireland on Monday 16 December 2013. The register continues to grow on a weekly basis. 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 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 (deemed and non-deemed) to be called forward for registration.

Deemed charities, as highlighted above, are charitable organisations which had received charitable tax status from HMRC as at 18 August 2013. Non-deemed charities are all other charitable organisations, whether long or newly established which were not registered with HMRC as at 18 August 2013, and may or may not have since registered with HMRC. Organisations are added to the combined list as non-deemed as they come forward to the Commission.

Some organisations are also considered by the Commission to be special circumstances. These are organisations, whether deemed or non-deemed, which have made a case to have their registration application brought forward, for example they are a new charity and wish to apply to HMRC for charitable tax status or they are part of a grouped registration.  

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 a fair and efficient manner. 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 a deemed organisationis found to have closed. When an organisations becomes registered it is added to the Commission's register of charities and is removed from the combined list.