Tax status removed from 651 charities

Many charities have ceased activity or failed to fulfil terms of exemption, says Revenue

More than 600 charities have had their tax exemption status removed over recent years, new figures show.

The numbers affected have increased dramatically since the financial crisis and reflect activity by the Revenue Commissioners and challenges facing charities.

Reviews by the Revenue show most groups which lost their status had ceased activity, failed to respond to queries or did not fulfil the terms required for tax exemptions.

Groups are granted charitable tax exemption on the basis their work is focused on the relief of poverty; advancement of education or religion; or other charitable benefit. More than 8,000 avail of charitable tax exemptions.


Revenue says it conducts hundreds of reviews each year, based on risk factors or specific intelligence.

Overall, 651 have lost their tax status since 2008. The numbers peaked in 2009 – when 215 were affected – and have fallen since. A total of 72 lost their status last year.

Life cycle
Deirdre Garvey of the Wheel, a representative body for the sector, said the removal of status typically had more to do with charities winding up . "Based on our experience, these are mostly small, micro-organisations that are no longer operating," she said. "There isn't another mechanism to remove the tax exempt status, so it's part of the natural life cycle."

This is likely to change once the Government establishes a charity regulator. Ms Garvey said charities strongly supported a more robust regulatory framework.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent