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Becoming a charity guidance

Published: 30/06/2017
Updated: 21/02/2018


Read our guidance about becoming a charity and setting up a charity.


This Guide sets out the key points charities need to know about the 2005 Act. It is not a detailed guide to all the requirements of charity law. Throughout the Guide there are links to specific guidance on our website and details of other organisations that can give help and advice to charities. 

Being a Charity in Scotland


For more information on becoming a charity, please go to our Becoming a Charity section on the website.

Becoming a Charity in Scotland


Comprehensive guidance on the charity test. To be a Scottish charity or a charity registered in Scotland your organisation must pass the charity test. 


Meeting The Charity Test: Guidance


Key characteristics of the common legal forms for charities.

Key Characteristics of Legal Forms

This guidance sets out the key points charities and applicants to become a charity need to know about the rules around charity names, including the rules under charity law and company law - which apply to companies and Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations (SCIOs).

Charity names guidance


From 1 January 2018 Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations (SCIOs) and Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs) will appear in the Registrar’s Index of Company Names, which is maintained by Companies House. Charities that are companies already appear on the index. See our FAQs below for more information. 

FAQs: SCIOs on the Index of Company Names

This guidance is aimed at charity trustees of cross-border charities and people working with or advising charity trustees.

Cross-border charity regulation in Scotland

Our online application for charitable status guidance takes you through the pre-application information required and navigating the online system. Before you read this guidance you should read the Thinking of becoming a charity section of our website. 

Online application to become a charity guidance



This note outlines some of the issues with governing documents established under English law and OSCR’s position on these issues.

Cross Border Constitution Briefing


Read OSCR's and HMRC's (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) joint statement defining the phrase charitable purpose" or the word "charitable" in the constitutions of Scottish Charities.
Joint statement from OSCR & HMRC PDF