Department plans for a de-minimis threshold for charity registration

14 Dec 2022 Denise Copeland    Last updated: 15 Dec 2022

NICVA warmly welcomes the Minister for Communities’s decision that a de-minimis threshold for charity registration should be introduced in Northern Ireland.  

The Department for Communities has now published its response to the recommendations in the Independent Review of Charity Regulation’s report which was published at the beginning of the year.  The Department has rejected the Independent Review Panel’s recommendation that a threshold for charity registration should not be introduced but is accepting all of the other 92 recommendations in the Panel's report.

NICVA is delighted that the Department will begin to develop policy and to draft legislation that would see the introduction of a £20,000 threshold for charity registration. We understand that this could take up to five years to implement and that it will require further consultation. 

We have been advocating for a change in the legislation since the implications of the Charities Act (NI) 2008 were first recognised, that is, that all organisations that meet the definition of charity are required to register as a charity, whether they want to or not.  

NICVA, like other umbrella bodies and network organisations, recognises the stress that the regulations are having on trustees of small organisations.  Some of the issues that we highlighted to the Department and the Independent Review Panel are:

  • There is a real danger that existing small organisations are going to wind up rather than having to register and/or report annually to the Commission.  
  • Trustees of smaller organisations have told us, and other helper groups, that they find the regulations overwhelming.
  • Small organisations do not have the benefit of staff to help them and many of the small charities that are/have been ‘in default’ on the register have older Trustees who sometimes find the process of reporting online quite daunting and sometimes difficult.  
  • It is also discouraging new organisations from forming as the charity registration and reporting regime is not always welcomed by those small organisations that don’t identify with being a charity. 

For further information on the Department’s response to all of the Panel's recommendations, including the introduction of a CIO, please see Independent Review of Charity Regualtion - Departmental Response's picture
by Denise Copeland

Governance and Charity Advice Manager

[email protected]

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