How Irish nonprofits are regulated

Regulatory sources of data in the Benefacts database

Civil society organisations come in many forms and are subject to a wide variety of public regulation.

Here is a list of the regulatory sources of data in on the date of release in May 2016:

  1. The Charities Regulator (for data on nonprofits regulated as charities)
  2. Revenue CHY Section (for data on charities that enjoy tax relief)
  3. Companies Registration Office (for data on nonprofits incorporated as companies)
  4. Department of Education and Skills (for data on schools)
  5. Housing Agency (for data on approved housing bodies)
  6. Revenue (for data on sporting bodies with tax relief)
  7. Library of the Houses of the Oireachtas (for data on voluntary bodies incorporated by statute)
  8. Registry of Friendly Societies (for data on industrial, provident and friendly societies)

Contact us if you have any ideas about how Benefacts could access more or better data from public regulatory sources.


The Charities Regulatory Authority provides a register of regulated charities under the provisions of Section 39 of the Charities Act, 2009.

Charities with tax relief

Revenue publishes lists of charities enjoying the benefits of tax relief under Section 207 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997, and a separate list of charities that are able to benefit from tax-efficient donations under the provisions of Section 848a of the same Act.

Nonprofit companies

The Companies Registration Office supplies, under licence, company documents and registration data on the entire population of companies on the live register in bulk format to high-volume users. Benefacts acquires its data about the subset of nonprofit companies – about 8,500 of the entities in the Benefacts database – from one of these data re-sellers.


The Department of Education and Skills publishes lists of primary, secondary and special schools and providers of higher education, providing basic directory data online

Social housing providers

The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government publishes a register of approved housing bodies, under the provisions of Section 6 of the Housing Act 1992, as well as a list of housing bodies that have signed up to voluntary regulation, with basic directory data

Sports bodies with tax relief

Revenue publishes and regularly updates a list of approved sports bodies that may receive tax relief on relevant donations for the funding of approved projects

Voluntary bodies incorporated by statute

Certain long-established voluntary organisations that were established under an act of parliament are required to lodge their audited financial statements before the Houses of the Oireachtas. These documents are stored in the Library of the Houses of the Oireachtas, and published on its website.

Friendly Societies

The Registry of Friendly Societies comprises three types of nonprofit entities: industrial, provident and friendly societies.

Industrial and Provident Societies are registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts 1893-2014. The 1893 Act provides for a society to be registered to engage in any industry, business or trade authorised by its rules. Registration under the Act renders a society a body corporate with limited liability. Industrial and provident societies, better known as co-operatives, operate across a wide range of industries, trades and businesses. The biggest and best-known are in the agriculture and food areas.

Friendly societies are registered under the Friendly Societies Acts 1896-2014. They are established for various purposes, mostly to provide small life assurance benefits, sick benefits and death benefits to members, to provide benefits to non-members or to promote particular activities or interests.

Trades unions are registered under the Trade Union Acts 1871-1990. Trade unions are established to represent workers in their relations with employers or to act as representative bodies for particular interest groupings.