References to Charity Status

All charities on the Scottish Charity Register are regulated under the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005. 

This legislation and the Charities References in Documents (Scotland) Regulations 2007 set out:

  • the accepted terms for how a charity can refer to itself

  • the information that must be included on documents

  • where and on which documents these references must appear

Making reference to your charitable status

The Act and the regulations require that whenever you are referring to your charity you should include:

  • the name of your charity (as it appears on the Scottish Charity Register)

  • your Scottish Charity Number (beginning SC0 [zero])

If the name of your group does not include the word ‘charity’, you must make it clear that your group is a registered charity by adding one of the following terms for charitable status:

  • a charity

  • a charitable body

  • a registered charity

  • a charity registered in Scotland

If the charity was established under the law of Scotland or is managed or controlled wholly or mainly from Scotland it may also refer to itself as:

  • a Scottish charity

  • a registered Scottish charity

Where to include these references

You are legally required to include your charity’s name/status and charity number on all external documents, including:

  • business letters and emails

  • advertisements, notices and official publications

  • documents soliciting money or property for the benefit of the charity

  • invoices and receipts

  • statement of accounts

  • campaign documents

  • contracts

  • website homepage

  • annual reports

  • newsletters

It is also good practice to make proper references on:

  • collection tins

  • media advertisements

  • business cards and compliment slips

For the full guidance on References in Documents visit the OSCR website - contact details at the bottom of this section.

It is a legal offence for a group to refer to itself as a charity in Scotland if it is not on the Scottish Charity Register, unless:

  • it is entitled to call itself a charity in the country (or territory) under whose law it is established and

  • it is managed or controlled wholly or mainly from outwith Scotland and

  • it is not required to be registered in Scotland by virtue of its not occupying land or premises or where it carries out its activities and

  • it must state the country (or territory) in which it is registered