Who can you accept donations and loans from?

A registered Northern Ireland political party can accept donations from and enter into loans with the following permissible sources:

  • an individual registered on a UK electoral register, including overseas electors and those leaving bequests
  • an Irish citizen, including those leaving bequests
  • a UK-registered company which is incorporated in the UK and carries on business in the UK
  • an Irish-registered company which is incorporated in the EU, and has an office in Ireland or Northern Ireland from which the carrying out of one or more of its principal activities is directed
  • a UK-registered or Irish-registered political party
  • a UK-registered or Irish-registered trade union
  • a UK-registered or Irish-registered building society
  • a UK-registered limited liability partnership which carries on business in the UK
  • an Irish-registered limited liability partnership that has an office in Ireland or Northern Ireland from which the carrying out of one or more of its principal activities is directed
  • a UK-registered or Irish-registered friendly, industrial or provident society
  • a UK-based unincorporated association that carries on the majority of its business or other activities in the UK
  • an Irish based unincorporated association that carries on the majority of its business or other activities in Ireland and has its main office in Ireland

You can also accept donations, but not loans, from certain types of trusts, certain public funds and from anyone who is paying for the reasonable costs of a visit outside the UK.

Although you can legally accept donations from charities as long as they are also permissible donors, charities are not usually allowed to make political donations under charity law. If you know that a donor is a charity, you should make sure that they get advice from the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (or other charity regulator, as appropriate) before they make the donation.

Last updated: 31 March 2022