The simple answer is it is the law and all schools are obliged to register. All schools fall within the terms of the Charites Act 2009. The Charites Regulator is the statutory regulatory agency for all charitable organisations and it has the power to bring legal proceedings against individuals who do not comply with the Act. This could include all the members of the Board of Management. If your school has not registered with the Regulator, the FSSU encourages you to submit your school’s application as soon as possible.
The registration process for primary schools is straightforward. The application is made via an on-line system at charitiesregulatoryauthority.ie, which has some pre-populated information on your school. Your school will be able to create a charity account which will have a unique login username and password. The Charities Regulator will require the names and addresses of all Board of Management members for registration. However, only the names of board members will be publicly available on the Regulator’s website. Should there be any changes to the board members, the school’s charity account should be updated.
Once your school is registered you will receive a unique Registered Charity Number (RCN). The RCN should be displayed on school letterhead.
The benefits of registration with the Charites Regulator are:
- It demonstrates your school operates to the highest standards of governance and administration
- It highlights your school’s commitment to transparency and accountability
- Your school is in a better position to retain and attract state funding
- Your school can attract funding from the corporate sector
- It provides a sound basis for donors and volunteers to support your school
- Your school will require an RCN number when applying for a permit for any on-street collections from An Gardai Síochána
- To apply for Revenue’s Charitable Tax-Exempt status and associated benefits it is a prerequisite that your school has an RCN
- It allows your school to play its part in building trust and confidence in the charities sector
Yes, the Charites Regulator require all charities to report to them on their financial activities. In the case of primary schools, the FSSU will assist the Regulator in collecting this information once a school has made its annual submission. There is no requirement for the school to make a direct return to the Charities regulator.
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