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Abridged accounts

Small companies are permitted to file accounts in an abridged format that does not include the income and expenditure account.

 The Directors are required to prepare a full set of accounts presenting a true and fair view of the assets and liabilities of the company and of its surplus or deficit for the year. Once these accounts have been prepared, they are recommended to the members of the company for adoption at the annual general meeting.

Following adoption, small companies are permitted to file the accounts in abridged form to the CRO. The choice to file in abridged form is a decision for the company, not its accountants.

Financial statements that don’t provide information on sources of income are not acceptable to State funders, nor are they recommended for use by charities.

Central Statistics Office (CSO)

The CSO is established under the Statistics Act. It is Ireland’s national statistical office. Its purpose is to impartially collect, analyse and make available statistics about Ireland’s people, society and economy.

Benefacts provides the CSO with a data file quarterly, including information on all of the nonprofits in its database.


A charity is a public benefit organisation whose purposes meet the definition set out in the Charities Act, and which has secured charitable status from the Charities Regulator. Charitable status is indicated by a registered charity number (RCN). Charities may be incorporated or unincorporated.

Not all nonprofits are or are eligible to be registered as charities – exclusions listed in the Act  include sports bodies, business associations, political parties.

Benefacts re-publishes the names, RCN and other data about charities which it derives from the public register of charities and amalgamates with information about charities available from other sources.

Charities Regulatory Authority (CRA)

The CRA was established in 2014 under the Charities Act 2009.  The responsibilities of the authority are set out in the Act and include the responsibility to maintain a public register of charities.

Registered charities are required to file an annual return with the Charities Regulator. The Regulator makes some of this information available to the public on its website.

Charitable tax exemption

Registered charities and recognised sports bodies are exempt from paying certain taxes  under S.207 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997.

An additional tax relief is available to qualifying charities under S.848a of the Act, which permits them to avail of tax relief on qualifying gifts.

Either form of tax relief is indicated by a charity (CHY) number. Use Benefacts advanced search to discover whether a charity has been approved for tax relief on donations.

Charities SORP

The Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) for Charities applicable in the UK and Republic of Ireland is an interpretation of the underlying financial reporting standards and gives guidance on financial accounting and reporting for charitable entities. It was developed by the Charity Regulators in England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in cooperation with the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) for the UK and Ireland. Pending the adoption of regulations setting the standard for financial reporting by charities here, the Irish Regulator of Charities has observer status in the work of this group. During 2019 the Charities SORP has been under review.

It follows that the use of Charities SORP is voluntary for charities in Ireland, although their use of it as a reporting standard has been steadily growing year-on-year. You can use this website to search for charities which have prepared their accounts using Charities SORP.

There are also SORPs for Higher Education and for Social Housing. These are used on a voluntary basis by a small number of large Irish charities.

Companies Registration Office (CRO)

The CRO is is the central repository of public statutory information on Irish companies and business names. It is also the home of the Registrar of Friendly Societies, which receives the returns of trade unions, friendly societies and industrial & provident societies.

The filings of Irish nonprofits to the Registrar of Companies or the Registrar of Friendly Societies are acquired by Benefacts and re-used under the terms of the CRO’s data re-use licence. The data acquired includes dates of Director appointments and resignations; company status; contents of annual returns; company constitutions and financial statements.

Financial Reporting Standard (FRS) 102

FRS102 is the financial reporting standard in the UK and Ireland, introduced in 2015. In summary, FRS 102 specifies that the financial statements adopted by the company must

  • give a true and fair view of the financial affairs of the company, including the basis for the directors’ assumption that it can continue to trade as a going concern
  • provide a narrative report by the directors linking the company’s performance with its plans and its financial performance
  • provide a balance sheet, income and expenditure account and notes to the accounts
  • report on the directors’ policy on the maintenance of reserves
  • report on transactions with related parties
  • report on the average number of full-time employees employed on average over the course of the year, the total cost of payroll, and the numbers of employees paid in excess of €70,000, reported in bands of €10,000
  • There is an additional provision for small companies that permits reduced disclosures in the notes, limiting material transactions to those not concluded under ‘normal market conditions,’ and removing the obligation to disclose wage costs.

Financial Reporting Standard (FRS) 105

Financial Reporting Standard (FRS) 105 is the financial reporting standard for micro enterprises in the UK and Ireland. It allows companies that are eligible for, and choose to apply the standard to make very limited disclosures.

In summary, FRS 105 specifies that the financial statements adopted by the company must include the following:

  • Auditors Report  (if audited)
  • Income Statement (this is excluded if the accounts are filed in abridged form)
  • Statement of Financial Position
  • Notes to the Financial Statements

There is no requirement for a directors report, or for the disclosure of directors remuneration, employment costs or numbers.

In the UK, charities that are micro enterprises are not permitted to report using FRS105 but there is no such regulation in Ireland; a growing number of micro companies that are charities are using this standard.


The word used on this website to describe civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or community & voluntary organisations. It includes but is not limited to charities.

The widely recognised definition used by Benefacts has five characteristics: a nonprofit is

  1. organised – as distinguished from informal or ad hoc – with an institutional presence or structure
  2. non-profit distributing insofar that they do not return any surplus or profit to a set of managers or owners
  3. independent particularly from Government and other public authorities
  4. voluntary inasmuch as participation is not mandatory, and includes some measure of voluntary participation even if only by its governing authority
  5. self-governing and in control of its own affairs

The Register of Charities includes a number of public sector bodies (PSBs) which do not conform with this definition of nonprofits (inasmuch as they are not independent of Government), and for this reason they are not included by Benefacts in its Database of Irish Nonprofits, not listed on this website and not included in Benefacts sector analysis reports.

Public Participation Networks (PPNs)

Since 2014, local authorities are responsible for creating frameworks for local participation in decision‑making, including Public Participation Networks. There are 31 PPNs nationally – one for each local authority area in Ireland.

Although they have been created and are funded by local and central government, each PPN operates independently, publishing its own website including in most cases a list of its members.

With one exception, Benefacts analyses but does not republish PPN registers since they are not made available on open data terms. This means the members of 27 local PPNs are included in Benefacts analysis of the nonprofit sector, but they are not listed on this website.

Benefacts republishes Fingal PPN data thanks to our data-sharing agreement with Fingal PPN and Fingal County Council.

Section 38

Section 38” is the commonly-used abbreviation for a group of 38 health or social care providers funded by the Health Service Executive (HSE) under the provisions of the Health Act 2004. The Act permits the HSE to enter into binding contractual agreements with bodies to provide services to the public on its behalf. Although they are independently governed, and therefore deemed to be nonprofits, their staff enjoy the same employment conditions and remuneration terms as public servants.

Although almost all are registered charities, regulatory disclosures are available for only 29. 25 are companies and file returns to the CRO. 4 were established by statute and lay their accounts before the Houses of the Oireachtas, which publishes them in its library.

The rest make an annual return to the Charities Regulator which may include their financial statements. Notwithstanding the provisions of S.54 of the Charities Act 2009, it is the policy of  the Regulator to withhold these financial statements from publication pending the introduction of regulations specifying the form in which these are to be made. For this reason, the data is not included in Benefacts analysis.  S.52 of the Act provides for the Minister to make such regulations, but he has not yet done so.

Section 39

“Section 39” is the commonly-used abbreviation for a group of more than 2,100 health or social care providers funded by the Health Service Executive (HSE) under the provisions of the Health Act 2004. The Act permits the HSE to enter into discretionary arrangements with health and social care providers. Most S.39 bodies are nonprofits and many are charities.

The HSE publishes a list of S.39-funded organisations whose grant exceeds €100,000 in its annual reports.

Unincorporated charity

An unincorporated charity is one that is regulated by the Charities Regulator but has no institutional status in law – for example a society or association.

If a charity is unincorporated it means the only public authority to which it is obliged to file a regulatory return is the Charities Regulator. The exception is schools, which are principally regulated by the Department of Education & Skills.


Last updated 21 May 2020