With a little help from our admin team, who deal with incoming queries every day, we have put together answers to the eleven most common questions about the NI Charity Number.
What does my NI Charity Number look like?
Your NI Charity Number starts with NI and contains six digits, for example NI123456. This number, and the fact that a charity is registered, must be displayed on all printed or online notices, advertisements and other documentation used for soliciting money or property. It must also be displayed on bills of exchange, promissory notes, endorsements, cheques and orders for money or goods, invoices, receipts and letters of credit. If in doubt, use it anyway!
Numbers starting with X denote charitable tax status from HMRC and should not be confused with NI charity numbers.
What is the difference between the one I have and the one you give me?
If your organisation has not been registered by the Commission then you will not yet have received an NI charity number. You may however be in receipt of an HMRC charitable tax status number – beginning with an ‘X’. This is not a charity number and should not be presented as one.
What can I do with my NI Charity Number?
Your NI Charity Number will demonstrate that your charity is registered and can be found on the online register of charities. You should display it prominently, including on your website, so that the public know your charity is accountable and regulated.
What else does it do?
Your NI Charity Number enables you to login to your entry on the register of charities which is where you keep your charity’s details up-to-date. Simply remove the NI and enter the remaining six digits, together with your Commission-issued password, to log in.
Within online services you can amend your charity’s area of operation, what your charity does and how you do it, who your beneficiaries are, your financial year end date, your bank account details, the contact details for your charity and the details of your trustees. It’s really important to keep these up-to-date, so it’s important to know your charity number.
Where do I find my charity number?
Your NI Charity Number is displayed on your charity’s entry on the register of charities. Any correspondence from the Commission, including your welcome pack, will also bear your NI Charity Number.
I haven’t received my NI Charity Number yet, how do I get this?
If your organisation has registered with the Commission then you will have received your NI Charity Number in the welcome pack. You can also find the charity numbers of all registered charities on the register of charities. If your organisation has not registered, you need to submit an expression of intent, and your organisation will be called forward for registration.
Does my charity number get me exemption from paying taxes/rates?
Being a registered charity can result in lower banking charges, VAT discounts, rates exemption, charitable tax status and access to funding. But if you’re not a ‘deemed’ organisation or a registered charity then you will have to ensure you have at least submitted an expression of intent to access many of the benefits.
Can I use my charity number to apply for gift aid?
Gift Aid is administered by HMRC and all enquiries concerning Gift Aid should be addressed to them.
What benefit is there in having a charity number?
Charity registration is good for the public, for the sector, and for your charity. A NI Charity Number is evidence that the charity is registered, regulated and accountable to the public. It may also help your charity qualify for lower banking charges, VAT discounts, rates exemptions, charitable tax reliefs and access to funding.
Does my HMRC number not mean that I am already a charity?
No. You must make yourself known to the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland to be called forward for registration. It’s the law.
Why do I need a NI Charity Number?
It’s the law that all institutions that are established for charitable purposes only, meet the public benefit requirement and are governed by the courts in Northern Ireland must be registered by the Commission in the register of charities.
Author: Neil Wilson
Neil is the Commission’s Communications Officer.