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HMRC internal manual

Trusts, Settlements and Estates Manual

Legal background to trusts and estates: charitable trust

To be regarded as charitable, all the purposes of a trust must

  • be within the legal meaning of charitable
  • promote public benefit.

There is a summary of charitable purposes at RE2100.

Charitable trusts are exempt from tax. They are not subject to the usual rules of perpetuity (TSEM6240). They do not fail for uncertainty of object. There are special rules for their regulation, variation and enforcement.

When trustees first claim that a trust is charitable, obtain

  • a copy of the governing instrument
  • the Charity Commission registration number.

Send the papers to IR (Charities) in Bootle if the trust is in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Send the papers to IR (Charities) in Edinburgh, if it is a Scottish trust.