In June the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland referred a technical problem with the wording of the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008 to the Department for Social Development for consideration.
This issue has caused a delay in the Charity Commission being able to begin registration of charities in Northern Ireland. However, those organisations which already have charitable status for tax purposes from HMRC are unaffected.
The Social Development Minister is considering whether the legislation requires amendment. This may mean that the Northern Ireland Assembly will have to agree new primary legislation. The timescale for this is currently unclear, as it depends on a number of different factors. As soon as this becomes clear we will provide updated information on timescales for registration.
In the meantime, the Charity Commission continues to prepare for the new regulatory regime by putting appropriate staffing resources and organisational structures in place. We will continue development of the website and information resources and establish necessary processes and procedures.
Any organisation in Northern Ireland which operates for charitable purposes may continue to apply to HMRC for charitable tax status which, if granted, will entitle the institution to certain tax benefits.