15 March 2011

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland


Regulatory, investigatory and enforcement powers have been conferred on the Charity Commission for Northern Island (the ‘CCNI’) in a Commencement Order which came into operation on 18 February 2011.

Under a simultaneous Transitional Provisions Order, any organisation established under the law of Northern Ireland for charitable purposes only and which has been recognised as being eligible for tax exemptions by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (‘HMRC’) can now be treated as a charity within the meaning of section 1 of the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008.

Further to these sections coming into force, the CCNI has written to the 7,500 organisations granted charitable status for tax purposes by HMRC to request income and contact information.

More importantly for English charities operating in Northern Ireland, the legislation requiring all charitable organisations to register with the CCNI is expected to come into force later this year.

Organisations and individuals receiving a letter from the CCNI should complete the short return form enclosed with the letter.

Further commencement orders are expected to make it a statutory obligation to provide pre-registration information and the CCNI will then write to charitable organisations again.

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