Charities Act 2009

50.

Annual audit or examination of accounts.

50.— (1) The accounts of a charitable organisation in respect of a financial year (in this subsection referred to as the “relevant financial year”) shall be audited not later than 9 months after the end of the relevant financial year by a qualified person if the gross income or total expenditure of the charitable organisation in—

( a) the relevant financial year,

( b) the financial year (if any) of the charitable organisation immediately preceding the relevant financial year, or

( c) the financial year (if any) of the charitable organisation immediately preceding the year referred to in paragraph (b),

exceeds such amount as may be prescribed.

(2) The Minister shall not prescribe an amount under subsection (1) greater than €500,000.

(3) Subject to subsection (4), the accounts of a charitable organisation (other than a charitable organisation to which subsection (1) applies) in respect of a financial year shall, at the election of the charity trustees, either—

( a) be examined by an independent person approved by the Authority, being a person who has the requisite ability and practical experience to carry out a competent examination of the accounts, or

( b) be audited by a qualified person,

not later than 9 months after the end of the financial year concerned.

(4) The Authority may give a direction to the charity trustees of a charitable organisation to which subsection (3) applies requiring that the accounts of the charitable organisation in respect of such financial year as is specified in the direction be audited by a qualified person.

(5) Where there has been a contravention of subsection (1) or the Authority is not satisfied with the manner in which the accounts of a charitable organisation to which that subsection applies have been audited, the Authority may appoint such qualified person as it considers appropriate to audit the accounts concerned.

(6) Where there has been a contravention of subsection (3) or the Authority is not satisfied with the manner in which the accounts of a charitable organisation to which that subsection applies have been examined or audited, as the case may be, the Authority may appoint such qualified person as it considers appropriate to audit the accounts concerned.

(7) The expenses incurred in the carrying out of an audit by a person appointed under subsection (5) or subsection (6) including the auditor's remuneration, shall be recoverable by the Authority as a simple contract debt in any court of competent jurisdiction—

( a) from the charity trustees of the charitable organisation (who shall be jointly and severally liable for those expenses), or

( b) from the charitable organisation concerned, where it is not practicable to recover them from the charity trustees.

(8) The Authority may give such directions as it considers appropriate, with respect to the carrying out of an examination under subsection (3)(a), to charity trustees of a particular charitable organisation or generally.

(9) Where, in relation to a charitable organisation, there is a contravention of this section the charity trustees shall each be guilty of an offence.

(10) It shall be a defence to proceedings for an offence consisting of the contravention of a requirement under this section for the defendant to prove that he or she believed on reasonable grounds that a competent and reliable person was duly charged with the duty of ensuring compliance with that requirement and was in a position to discharge that duty.

(11) A charity trustee who obstructs or fails to cooperate with a person appointed under subsection (5) or subsection (6) or who fails to give him or her such assistance as he or she may require for the purpose of carrying out an audit of the accounts of the charitable organisation concerned shall be guilty of an offence.

(12) Where, in relation to a charitable organisation, there is a contravention of a requirement in a direction under subsection (4), each of the charity trustees of the organisation shall be guilty of an offence.

(13) This section does not apply—

( a) to a charitable organisation that is a company,

( b) to an education body,

( c) to a charitable organisation in respect of a financial year in which its gross income or total expenditure is less than—

(i) €10,000, or

(ii) such greater amount, not exceeding €50,000, as may be prescribed,

or

( d) in relation to a centre for education designated by the Minister under section 10(4) of the Act of 1998.

(14) In this section “qualified person” means—

( a) a person who, in accordance with section 187 of the Companies Act 1990, is qualified to be appointed as a company auditor, or

( b) in relation to a charitable organisation that—

(i) is established in an EEA state, and

(ii) does not have a principal place of business in the State,

a person who is qualified under the law of that EEA state to perform functions the same as or similar to those performable in the State by a person referred to in paragraph (a).