2.1.1 The Taxes Acts set out four conditions for 'a body of persons or trust' to be a charity for tax purposes. These are that the organisation:
A 'body of persons' includes companies, unincorporated associations and other groups.
2.1.2 A 'body of persons or trust' is established for 'charitable purposes only' if it was set up by a governing, or founding, document that restricts its purposes to those detailed in section 2 of the (England and Wales) Charities Act 2006. The organisation must be established in an EU Member State or a country listed as a relevant territory in regulations.
2.1.3 For an organisation to be 'established for charitable purposes only' it must be restricted by its governing document to using all its income and assets for its stated charitable purposes.
2.1.4 To satisfy the jurisdiction condition the organisation must be subject to the control of a court in the exercise of that court's jurisdiction with respect to charities. In the UK this is the High Court, the Court of Session in Scotland or the High Court in Northern Ireland. In a relevant territory outside the UK this means a court with a corresponding jurisdiction.
2.1.5 In order to meet the registration condition, an organisation that is required to register with a charity regulator under the law of the territory in which it is established must be so registered. So, for example, an organisation in England that is required to register with the Charity Commission must be so registered to meet the registration condition.
2.1.6 The management condition is concerned with the propriety of the persons who have control and management of the organisation (the managers). There is more detailed guidance on this available.
2.1.7 Further details on the charitable tax exemptions can be found in Annex I of these Guidance Notes.
2.1.8 For a charity to be able to take advantage of the Gift Aid scheme, other giving schemes and the charitable tax exemptions, and to be able to make claims for repayment of tax, it must complete a Charities Application form (ChA1)(PDF 721K) so that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) Charities can decide whether it satisfies the relevant conditions and set up the appropriate records.
2.2.1 If a body is required to register with a charity regulator it must do so before applying to HMRC for recognition as a charity for tax purposes.
2.2.2 The Charity Commission has responsibility for the regulation of charities in England and Wales that are required to be registered under the Charities Act 1993 (as amended by the Charities Act 2006). Their telephone number is 0845 300 0218 or you can visit the Charity Commission website (Opens new window). The Charity Commission can also advise an organisation whether it is required to register with them.
2.2.3 The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has responsibility for the regulation of charities in Scotland. All bodies wishing to act as charities in Scotland must register with OSCR. The telephone number for OSCR is 01382 220 446 or you can visit the OSCR website OSCR - Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (Opens new window).
2.2.4 The Charity Commission Northern Ireland (CCNI) has responsibility for the regulation of charities in Northern Ireland and will start registering charities in Northern Ireland at a date to be announced. In the meantime, charities in Northern Ireland are not required to register with a regulator before applying to HMRC. The telephone number for CCNI is 028 90 515490 or you can visit the CCNI website (Opens in new window).
2.2.5 Other relevant countries (Member States and those listed in regulations) may have their own charity regulators and it is the responsibility of the organisation to ascertain whether registration is required.
2.2.6 Once an organisation has registered with an appropriate regulator it can make an application to HMRC for recognition as a charity for tax purposes. A written application should be made using form ChA1. Please make sure that you complete this form correctly as we will not deal with incomplete forms and will return them to you.
2.3.1 If your organisation is excepted or exempt from registration or if your organisation is established in a country where there is no charity regulator you may apply directly to HMRC for recognition as a charity for tax purposes. Applications should be made in writing using form ChA1.
2.4.1 Because the definition of charitable purposes for tax purposes is the one set down by the Charities Act (England and Wales) 2006 it is possible that an organisation refused registration by a charity regulator outside England and Wales may still be able to satisfy the conditions in the Taxes Acts and be recognised as a charity for tax purposes.
2.4.2 If you want HMRC to consider whether your organisation is a charity for UK tax purposes, please complete the HMRC Charity application form ChA1 and send it to us.
2.5.1 If HMRC Charities is satisfied that the organisation is established for wholly charitable purposes and satisfies the other conditions we will:
2.5.2 If HMRC Charities is not satisfied that an organisation satisfies the conditions to be recognised as a charity for tax purposes we will write to you and explain our decision and arrange, if necessary, for a tax record to be created at the appropriate office.
2.6.1 If the charity changes its name, the trustees must notify HMRC Charities as soon as possible using form ChV1 Charities Variations . If the charity is a company it should include a copy of the Certificate of Incorporation of Change of Name. If the charity is not a company it should include the minutes of the meeting of the trustees at which the name change was adopted.
2.6.2 If the charity trustees or managers change or if the bank account details change, HMRC should be notified as soon as possible using form ChV1.
2.6.3 It is important that any relevant changes are notified to us on form ChV1 at least one month before a claim using the new details is made so that we can change your charity’s records and make any repayment using the new details.
2.6.4 Please do not use the repayments claim form R68 to tell us of changes that should be reported using form ChV1
2.6.5 If you have any further questions about charitable status you should telephone the HMRC Charities helpline and select Option two.
Charities and CASCs can appoint tax advisers to deal with HMRC regarding their tax affairs. Fill in and submit Form 64-8 'Authorising your agent' to give HMRC authority to communicate with your agent about the tax affairs of your organisation. Post your completed form to HMRC Charities at this address
HM Revenue & Customs Charities
St Johns House