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HMRC internal manual

VAT Registration

Entity to be registered: charities

Legal status of charities

A charity is, generally speaking, set up as a trust under a trust instrument and having trustees. In some circumstances, however, it may be set up as a company limited by guarantee. The trustees, or directors, as the case may be, have similar powers and duties which are subject to regulation by the Charity Commissioners. In Northern Ireland, they are regulated by the Department of Finance and Personnel.

Incorporation of charities

Registration under the Charities Acts does not confer corporate status on a charity. The charity should be able to provide evidence of status if necessary and will be registered according to status.

A charity which is set up as a trust should be treated as falling within the terms of the VAT Act 1994, section 46(3) (see VATREG11000). You should obtain a list of the names and addresses of all the trustees as they are the persons making the supplies.