A charitable trust had failed to file annual returns for a number of years, as a key trustee had died and, unbeknownst to the other trustees, all correspondence and reminders from Charities Services had been sent to them.

The trust was therefore struck off the register of charities by Charities Services for that failure to file annual returns.

Years later, a potential donor wanted to make a major donation to the trust.  In order to claim any tax concessions, the donor needed the trust to be registered as a charity.

The remaining trustees panicked as they did not know how to re-register a charity, and didn’t know if this de-registration meant they also were no longer a registered charitable trust.  They sought legal advice.

Does de-registration as a charity affect a trust’s status as a registered charitable trust board?

Firstly, being removed from the Charities Register by Charities Services does not mean an entity ceases to exist as a legal entity.  It simply means the entity no longer has charitable status, so cannot claim any tax exempt status, and donors cannot obtain a tax concession for donating to it.

If you are a registered charitable trust board or society, for example, the charitable trust board or society continues to be registered, even if it is no longer registered as a charity.

There are situations where charitable trust boards or societies can be removed from the Charitable Trusts register or Incorporated Societies register, but those are separate from any de-registration as a charity.

How do you re-register?

A charity seeking to re-register on the Charities Register needs to do so online using their existing Charities Services number and password and follow the online process to re-register.  The log in does not go away once you have been de-registered.

The process involves updating any changes to the charity’s details, such as changes to rules or officers and primary contact details.  You will need to explain the charity’s activities and purposes, in the same way as if you were registering a new charity. 

Importantly, you will also need to have the charity’s latest financial statements ready to upload.

Charities Services then assess the application, and will decide whether the entity can be re-registered.


The various registration process for charitable entities can be confusing, especially where there is a change of trustees or other personnel.

It is important that trustees have a process in place in case a key trustee who holds information about the trust and its registration details passes away or loses capacity, to avoid a situation like the one in this example.

We recommend more than one person holds the log in details for Charities Services and that you log in and update officer details when a trustee dies, as is required.

If you are unsure, consult a legal advisor experienced in the charities area.



Claire Tyler