The charities Bill became Law in 2009. Apart from some minor sections of the Act that became operative some time ago under Ministerial Order, nothing significant was activated until this year when the Minister for Justice established the Charities Regulatory Authority. It is hoped that the existence and operations of the Authority will successfully regulate the charity sector and enhance its reputation.
The Authority has now established a Statutory Register of Charities which is accessible on its website. At present it includes all Charities that have a CHY Number which would have been allocated to them in the past by the Revenue Commissioners. In due course these charities will be required to file further information online with the Authority.
Other organisations which are defined under the act as Charities but which do not have a CHY Number must now apply to be registered within six months from the date on which the Register was set up. Apart from schools and colleges, which have not yet been requested to register, all organisations carrying on charitable work should apply to be registered.
In due course all Registered Charities will be allocated an Annual Return Date which will be ten months after their financial year end. In general, on or before this date, they will be required to file their Financial Statements and a Report with the Charities Regulator. All charitable entities with income greater than €100,000 will require to be audited. The accounts that they file will have to be accompanied by an Auditors’ Report.
As time goes by we can expect that more provisions of the Charities Act will be commenced by Ministerial Order.
The new accounting regime, Financial Reporting Standard 102 [FRS 102], will soon come into operation for Charities and it is likely that the New Charities SORP, Accounting and Reporting by Charities: Statement of Recommended Practice (FRS 102), effective 1 January 2015, will apply to preparation of the accounts of Charitable Entities. Recently many Irish Charities have voluntarily adopted the now current SORP, Charities SORP 2005, to increase transparency and comply with highest standards of financial Reporting and governance.
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