Ireland: Charities Update: Fundraising Guidelines, VAT, Annual Report Deadline and More

Last Updated: 3 November 2017
Article by Niamh Callaghan, Edward Gleeson, Alice Murphy and Emma Lawrence

Most Read Contributor in Ireland, October 2017

The Consultative Panel on Charitable Fundraising (Panel) was established in 2016 by the Charities Regulatory Authority (Authority). The Panel was asked to consider the practice of fundraising from the public by charitable organisations. It was also mandated to make recommendations on how best to regulate fundraising into the future. Niamh Callaghan, a partner in our Charities & Not-for-Profit team, was a member of the Panel. A copy of the Panel's report is available here

Fundraising guidelines

One of the Panel's recommendations made in the report was that the Authority should issue guidelines for charities that fundraise. There already exists a Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising that was issued by (then) ICTR in 2008. The new Guidelines for Charitable Organisations on Fundraising from the Public (Guidelines) were published following the release of the Panel's report. While they derived from the 2008 Guiding Principles, they have been issued by the Authority in line with its functions under the Charities Act 2009. A copy of the Guidelines can be accessed here.   

The Guidelines apply to all types of fundraising by charities from the public. Charity trustees should ensure that all key people within their organisation who are involved in fundraising implement the practices prescribed by the Guidelines. When considered in conjunction with the Fundraising Codes, published by Charities Institute Ireland and available on that website, charity trustees now have access to a wealth of up-to-date guidance in relation to fundraising.

"Must" and "Should"

Various statements in the Guidelines commence with either the word "should" or "must".  The Guidelines note as follows:

  • "must" means that something is a legal or regulatory requirement or a duty that trustees must comply with
  • "should" means that something is good practice and the Charities Regulator expects trustees to follow and implement it within their charity

You "must" read the Guidelines in full.  However, here is a summary of some of the "musts" and "shoulds":


  • A charity must not enter into any agreement which is intended to deliver more private benefit to third party fundraisers than it does to the charity.
  • Any information obtained in confidence as part of the fundraising process must not be disclosed without express, informed prior consent of the donor. 
  • It must be made clear at all times whether fundraising activities are for the charity in general or for a special purpose. 
  • Charities must ensure that fundraising materials do not imply that money fundraised is for a restricted purpose when it may be used for different purposes or for general funds. 
  • A charity must follow appropriate procedures when handling and processing personal data from individuals.


  • Fundraising by third party agents should be the subject of a written contract.
  • Charity trustees should ensure that their charity has a Donor's Charter, which should be publicly available and should include the commitments of respect, honesty and integrity, transparency and accountability.
  • The charity's Donor's Charter should be communicated to all fundraisers, whether voluntary, paid or third party agents. 
  • A donation given by someone who lacked capacity at the time of donating should be returned. 
  • Trustees should ensure that the charity has a policy for any activities involving volunteers, including how they are contracted and managed. 
  • Trustees should ensure that the charity has clear, transparent procedures in place to enable interested parties to notify the charity of their complaints, questions or comments. 
  • If an individual is not satisfied with the manner in which their complaint is handled by the charity concerned, they should be advised of their right to raise a concern with the Authority. 

Core principles

The Guidelines state that fundraising should be underpinned by three core principles:

  1. Respect: Fundraisers should respect the rights and dignity of donors, beneficiaries and the public.
  2. Honesty and integrity: Fundraisers should act with integrity. Representations regarding the charity, its need for funds and the application of those funds should be honest.
  3. Transparency and accountability: Charities should operate in an open manner. They should be capable of explaining and justifying their actions.


Charities are exempt from VAT under Irish and EU VAT law. They do not charge VAT on their services and cannot recover VAT incurred on goods and services that they purchase. Various interested groups and individuals have made representations to Government over the past number of years seeking to reduce the VAT burden on charities.

In his Budget 2018 speech, Minister Pascal Donohoe announced a VAT Compensation Refund Scheme. The scheme will take effect from 1 January 2018 but will be paid one year in arrears. For example, in 2019, charities will be able to reclaim some element of the VAT costs which arose during the preceding year in 2018. VAT refunds will be calculated on the level of non-public funding. A total of €5 million will be available in 2019 for the purposes of reimbursing Irish charities that have submitted VAT refund claims. If the collective value of claims exceeds that amount, charities will be paid on a pro-rata basis. Claims below €500 will not qualify. 

Qualifying charities must be registered with the Authority, have tax clearance, and provide a set of audited accounts for the year in which the claim is being submitted. 

2016 annual report deadline

If your charity is registered with the Authority and has a year-end of 31 December 2016, an important deadline is approaching. Your charity is required to file an annual report with the Authority within 10 months of your financial year end. Therefore, for those charities with a financial year end of 31 December, the submission deadline of 31 October is approaching.

In its annual report, a charity must provide two categories of information, namely:

  • information relating to its activities
  • information relating to its financial position

If a charity is not also a company, it must submit a copy of its financial statements.

The annual report is filed online on the Authority's website. The annual report is in the form of an online questionnaire. You should submit the form when you are satisfied that all questions have been correctly answered and all the necessary documents are attached.

Our Charities & Not-for-Profit team would be happy to help with gathering this information and making the filing for your charity, should you need our assistance. 

Other Updates

Third set of guidelines

The Guidelines detailed above are the third set of guidelines issued by the Authority. All charity trustees should also be aware of the previous guidelines. They are:

  • guidelines in relation to financial accountability and controls
  • guidelines regarding the duties of charity trustees

Both of these guidelines can also be found on the Authority's website.

Second Consultative Panel

The Authority has established a second Consultative Panel that is currently working with and advising the Authority on governance of charities. We will keep you up to date with the recommendations of that Panel, and the practical impact for charities, when they are published.

New department

In August the Charities (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order 2017 moved the functions of the Minister for Justice and Equality under the Charities Act 2009, the Street and House to House Collections Act 1962 (and other) to the Minister for Rural and Community Development. Therefore, Minister Michael Ring together with CEO of the Authority, John Farrelly, launched the Report and Guidelines last week. We look forward to working with Minister Ring and the Department of Rural and Community Development. 


There is a lot happening in the charity space and a lot for charity trustees to be aware of. We will keep you up to date with all future developments. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Events from this Firm
23 Nov 2017, Seminar, Dublin, Ireland

We will host a seminar in our offices on Barrow Street on Thursday 23 November looking at Ireland as a forum for litigation for the aircraft leasing industry.

28 Nov 2017, Conference, Dublin, Ireland

Deirdre Nagle, Senior Planning Lawyer, Mason Hayes & Curran, will speak at the Irish Solar Energy Association’s Solar Ireland 2017 Conference taking place in Croke Park on 28 and 29 November. The conference will play host to key stakeholders in the Irish and international solar industry.

6 Dec 2017, Other, Dublin, Ireland

Our annual Contemporary Art at Christmas exhibition will take place on Wednesday 6 December 2017 from 6.00pm - 8.00pm in our offices on Barrow Street.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.