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As companies

Many nonprofits are incorporated under the Companies Act 2014 and hence are regulated under company law. The most common form of nonprofit incorporation is as a company limited by guarantee without share capital (CLG).  A small number are incorporated as a designated activity company (DAC).

In a few cases, nonprofits are incorporated as companies limited by share, where the shareholder is a public body (such as a local authority) or another nonprofit which itself is incorporated as a CLG.


As friendly societies, industrial and provident societies, trade unions

Some older nonprofits were established and are regulated as friendly societies. Trades unions are regulated under the Trade Union Acts 1871-1990. Industrial and Provident Societies are registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts 1893-2018.

As charities

Any organization that is established for public benefit and whose purposes fall under one or more of the definitions set out in the Charities Act 2009 is a charity, and should register as such with the Charities Regulator. The use of a registered charity number (RCN) signifies that a charity is registered as such. A charity (CHY) number signifies only that the entity enjoys tax exemption of one or more kinds from Revenue.

A charity may be incorporated in any of a number of ways (as a company, as a charter body, as a friendly society) – this has no bearing on the obligation to register as a charity if it conforms with the provisions of the Charities Act.


As approved housing bodies

Social housing providers in Ireland are regulated under the Housing (Regulation of Approved Housing Bodies) Act 2019.

Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) are subject to regulation by the Regulation Office of the Housing Agency.

Currently, regulation of the sector is based on the Voluntary Regulation Code which includes four best practice guidelines – one for each governance, performance management, tenancy services and financial management. While the Code is voluntary, funding eligibility is aligned to those AHBs signed up to and demonstrating compliance with the code.


Each of these forms of regulation is binding in its own right, which means that a social housing company which is also a charity must make a set of regulatory returns to meet the requirements of each of its three regulators.

Besides these specific forms of regulation, every nonprofit must comply with regulatory requirements that apply to any qualifying body, such as data protection, lobbying, safeguarding.


Last updated 21 May 2020