The Charities Act 2009 provides for an integrated system of mandatory registration and proportionate regulation and supervision of charitable organisations operating in Ireland. An independent Charities Regulatory Authority is to be established under the Act. One of the functions of this Authority will be to establish and maintain a public Register of Charities. When this Register is in place, interested parties will be able to consult it to establish whether any given organisation is a registered charity.
The Deputy will appreciate that the full implementation of the Charities Act, including the establishment of the Authority and Register of Charities, has resource implications that had to be examined in the context of the urgent need to reduce government expenditure. I delayed bringing this legislation into force in order to consider how best to achieve the objectives of the Act in this context. It remains an objective of the Government to strengthen the regulation of the charitable sector in effective and proportionate ways. To advance this, a public and stakeholder consultation on the implementation of the Charities Act 2009, and the establishment of a Register of Charities, was carried out by my Department earlier this year and published in July. At that time the Government also approved my plans to proceed with the establishment of an independent Charities Regulatory Authority under the terms of the 2009 Charities Act. It is envisaged that the new Authority will come into operation in 2014.
In the meantime, the Deputy may be interested to know that many Irish charities, approximately 8,000, have been deemed eligible by the Revenue Commissioners for charitable tax exemptions under the Taxes Consolidation Act(s). Information on this Scheme and a list of those charities that have been deemed eligible are available on the Revenue website: www.revenue.ie.