Charities Update - Winter 2014

Author:Mr Philip Smith and Sarah McCague
Profession:Arthur Cox
 
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CHARITIES ACT 2009

With the exception of Part 4 (Protection of Charitable Organisations) and Part 7 (Miscellaneous Provisions), the majority of the Charities Act 2009 (the "Act") was commenced with effect from 16 October 2014 and has introduced some key changes to the sector.

At the ICTR Annual Conference, held on 6 November, Úna Ní Dhubhghaill, CEO of the CRA, spoke of the timely impact the Act will have for charities registered in Ireland, ensuring greater accountability and protecting against abuses of charitable status and fraud. The Act is also expected to enhance public trust and confidence in charities and to increase transparency by providing an open online record which each charity will be actively encouraged to update and amend as and when required.

Charities Regulatory Authority

On 16 October 2014, the Charities Regulatory Authority ("CRA") was established by Ministerial Order. Its purpose is to maintain a Register of Charities (the "Register"), to seek and keep annual reports from registered charities, to provide charity services and to investigate complaints about charities. As this investigative power under Part 4 of the Act has not yet been commenced, the CRA is not currently empowered or resourced to conduct statutory investigations of charities, but it is hoped that Part 4 will come into force in the first half of 2015. In the meantime, the CRA will attempt to follow up on complaints received about charities where this is appropriate and within the powers and resources currently available. Complaints will be considered where there is the potential for serious abuse of a charity, its assets, or its beneficiaries.

The Register

The Register will be developed further in the coming months. Currently, the majority of its entries are based on information supplied to the CRA by the Revenue Commissioners.

CHY Charities The Register is established pursuant to s.39 of the Act. All CHY charities in existence prior to 16 October 2014 (estimated at 8,500) are automatically registered charities within the meaning of the Act. At this stage, the Register contains the CHY charities' names and addresses (and in some cases the charitable purposes). The CRA are currently sending out letters asking that CHY charities supply the additional information needed for a complete entry in the Register. They hope to have the last of these letters sent out by January 2015. It is hoped following this that each charity in the database will have updated...

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