IRELAND’S charities have been accused of arrogance by a leading charity boss.
Jack & Jill founder Jonathan Irwin attacked the sector – which receives billions of euro of taxpayers’ cash each year – because so many charities have so far failed to either register or engage with the new regulator.
Just 65 of the estimated 4,000 charities that must register with the Charities Regulatory Authority (CRA) by next April had completed their registration up to about two weeks ago.
While 650 of the charities have started the registration process, the regulator said only a small fraction had actually completed the process.
At the current rate of registration completions – about 130 a year – it would take more than 30 years for all the charities to sign up.
Mr Irwin has condemned the low rate of registration as ‘appalling’.
He said: ‘It is a real indictment of the charity sector and, perhaps, its arrogance. It is quite wrong that the CRA is not firing on all cylinders given the crisis in the sector last year.
‘Too many charities have been too comfortable for too long.’
Apart from the estimated 4,000 charities that must register with the CRA by next April, another 8,500 charities with ‘CHY’ numbers from the Revenue were registered automatically when the CRA was established.
However, it has also emerged that of these charities, more than half have yet to engage with CRA staff.
Despite the thousands of letters sent out to these charities requiring key information from them, just 3,600 had responded by about two weeks ago.
The CRA said: ‘Approximately 3,600 charities have provided additional information to date in response to the CRA’s request by letter to all charities deemed registered under section 40 of the 2009 Charities Act.
‘The CRA has requested information from all registered charities to supplement the information received by the CRA directly from Revenue in respect of charities deemed registered under section 40.
‘The CRA has not yet set a deadline for the completion of this information provision. We encourage all registered charities that have not yet completed the process to do so as soon as they can.’
Asked how many of the estimated 4,000 charities that do not have a CHY tax exemption number from Revenue had fully registered with the regulator, she replied: ‘Approximately 650 organisations have commenced the process of applying for registration.’
Of these, she said: ‘Approximately 10% have completed all aspects of application.’