In Ireland when an organisation has "charitable status" it simply means that it is recognised as charitable by the Revenue Commissioners for tax purposes. There is currently no official "Register of Charities" in Ireland. However, you should note that the Charities Act 2009, when fully implemented, will introduce such a register for the first time. Applying to be recognised as a charity by the Revenue Commissioners involves groups applying for exemption from certain taxes and separately to the Valuation Office for exemption from rates on buildings.
For voluntary and community organisations there can be advantages in having charitable status beyond tax exemptions. It can give a standing and credibility to the organisation. Some funders of voluntary and community organisations require them to be recognised ashaving 'charitable ststus'. However it should be noted that it does not give legal status to an organisation; you can have charitable status without having legal status and vice versa.
A charity is an organisation whose aims are exclusively charitable i.e. they come under one of the following definitions of charity
- The relief of poverty;
- The advancement of education;
- The advancement of religion;
- Other purposes of a charitable nature beneficial to the community.
However before making an application an organisation should check if its ‘governing instrument’, essentially, its constitution or a Memorandum and Articles of Association or a Trust Deed, meet with the requirements of the Revenue Commissioners as regards charitable status. This will avoid the cost and time involved in making alterations. The company must have aims which are exclusively charitable and the income and property of the company must be used for charitable purposes only.