THE CHARITIES ACT 2009

charities act 2009Last year the Minister for Justice announced the plan to establish an Independent Charities Regulator. That appointment has now been made and the Independent Charities Regulator is now in office and has commenced activities. According to the Irish Statute Book, the CHARITIES ACT 2009 is “an Act to provide for the better regulation of charitable organisations, and, for that purpose, to provide for the establishment of a body to be known as An tÚdarás Rialála Carthanas or in the English language The Charities Regulatory Authority; to provide for the dissolution of the commissioners of charitable donations and bequests for Ireland; to make provision in relation to the regulation and protection of charitable organisations and charitable trusts; to provide for the registration of charitable organisations; to provide for the establishment of a body to be known as the Charity Appeals Tribunal to hear appeals from decisions of the Charities Regulatory Authority; to make provision in relation to fund-raising by or on behalf of registered charitable organisations; to provide for the repeal of certain provisions of the Charities Act 1961; and to provide for matters connected therewith.”

The act was signed into law on 28 February 2009 with the purpose of establishing a Regulator for charities and ensuring accountability, as well as protecting against fraud and the abuse of charitable status. So, what are the main elements of a charitable institution?

Charities must be of public benefit aiming at relief of poverty or the prevention of economic hardship.  Charitable purposes can range from advancement of education, religion or any other purpose that is of value to the community (improving community welfare, protecting natural environment, improving environmental sustainability, preventing cruelty against animals, the advancement of arts, culture heritage or sciences, and integrating disadvantaged individuals into society). If you wish to read a detailed description of the Charities Act 2009, you can download the Act here.

Charitable organisations must apply to be registered no later than six months after commencement. Unregistered charities will have committed an offence and will not be allowed to carry on activities. The Register of charities is available at www.charitiesregulatoryauthority.ie.

Starting 1st of January 2015, Charities are required to apply the new accounting regime, Financial Reporting Standard 102 (FRS 102). FRS 102 provides a concise and simplified accounting framework for Charities.  Following adoption of FRS 102, an Accounting Standard – the new Charity SORP (the Statement of Recommended Practice for Charities) was developed by the Charity Commission in the UK to make it consistent with the new FRS 102. The SORP is not yet mandatory in The Republic of Ireland but represents best practice.

Ormsby & Rhodes can assist you in relation to FRS 102, the New Charities SORP and The Charities Act, 2009. For information or further support, please contact us today.