Applying for charitable status with OSCR.
To help us make a decision on whether your organisation should
be granted charitable status in Scotland, you must send us the
1. A fully completed application form:
- For all forms of charities except Scottish Charitable
Incorporated Organisations (SCIOs) please complete a
Charitable Status application
form which features guidance notes on how to complete your
- For SCIOs please complete a SCIO application
form which also contains guidance notes. Read
our guidance on
the SCIO legal form here.
2. Fully completed Charity Trustee
Declaration form - please print as many of these as you
need (please note, a SCIO must have a minimum of 3 charity
trustees). The forms allow charity trustees the people who run the
charity, to assure OSCR that they are aware of their
responsibilities and are not disqualified from acting as
3. A copy of your organisation's constitution or governing document -
this sets out the purposes for which your organisation was set up,
the form it will take, and what it can do. If possible we
prefer a draft version so that any changes can be
4. A description of your organisation's
existing or proposed activities, for example a business plan or
funding application - this allows us to decide if your organisation
will provide public benefit.
5. A recent statement of accounts, if you have
All completed applications should be sent to:
Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR)
9 Riverside Drive
We will acknowledge your application within 10 days of
receipt. We aim to assess applications within 90 days. Some
applications can take longer if they are complex or we need to come
back to you for more information.
How we decide
We will use your completed forms and supporting documents to
assess your application against the charity test which forms part
of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act
2005 (the 2005 Act). Our Meeting the
Charity Test full guidance and the Charity Test - a brief
guide will provide further information on the charity test.
In summary, to pass the charity test your organisation must meet
the following requirements:
1. It must have only charitable purposes
purposes are found in your constitution or governing document and
state what your organisation has been set up to
achieve. When assessing your application, we will look
to see that your purposes can be linked to those set out in
the 2005 Act.
2. Its activities must provide, or be
intended to provide public benefit
in Scotland or
elsewhere. We will look at what your organisation does or
plans to do to achieve your purposes. You must be able to
demonstrate that in meeting your activities you will make a
positive difference to the public in the ways suggested by your
purposes. Charities can provide public benefit in many
different ways and in differing amounts. It is important that
your application clearly tells us what you intend to do to achieve
your purposes. Without this we can't assess whether your
organisation will provide public benefit.
3. Your constitution or governing document,
must meet the requirements of the 2005 Act. We will check to
make sure that:
- Your organisation's property cannot be used for
- Ministers are not in control of or are able to direct your
activities. Read our Policy Statement
on Ministerial Powers for further information.
- Your organisation is not a political party or that your purpose
is not the advancement of a political party.
If you are applying to become a SCIO there
are further requirements you must meet in addition to the
charity test. More information on these requirements is
available from our publication SCIOs: A Guide
If you meet all of the registration conditions, we will enter
your organisation on the Scottish Charity Register and issue you
with a Scottish charity number (SC0xxxxx). Read the Publicising your
Charitable Status page
for more information on what you need to
do to promote your charity registration.
Once you are registered, you have legal responsibilities to
provide us, and the public, with certain information, and to
contact us to get our permission before making changes to your
. Read the Managing your Charity
more information on your responsibilities.
If your organisation fails the charity test, we will write to
you, explaining our reasons. If you disagree with the
decision, you can ask us to review it and we will explain how to do
this when we give you our decision.
English and Welsh charities
If you are a charity based in England and Wales and you would
like to register or need to register with us please read
our English and Welsh charities
OSCR is committed to delivering high quality, effective
customer service. To ensure we are doing so, service delivery
surveys are sent out to charities which have applied for charitable
status or have been involved in a consents issue. If you have
a comment on customer service in relation to charitable status or
consents please complete and return our customer