If you are thinking of establishing a charity, or have already started one and considering registration, this week we are looking on the process and requirements under the Charities Act (2013).
The Act defines a charitable organisation as:
- a charitable trust; or
- any institution, whether incorporated or not, which
(i) is established for a charitable purpose exclusively;
(ii) is intended to and does operate for the public benefit; and
(iii) has no part of its net income or assets enuring to the personal benefit of any governing board member of settlor of the organisation, or of any other private individual but shall not include an excluded body.
To register a charity, applications for registration are to be made to the Department of Cooperatives and Friendly Societies (DCFS)D and the directors or other governing members of the charitable entity must satisfy the DCFS that they are ‘fit and proper’ persons. The fit and proper questionnaire that must be submitted by each governing board member is often seen as intrusive as it contains thirty-two (32) detailed questions. Each member is also required to submit a certified passport-sized photograph.
Once approved, the charitable organization will receive automatic tax waivers/exemptions in respect of customs duty, general consumption tax, income tax, property tax, stamp duty, and transfer tax. Additionally, donations to the organization will be income-tax deductible.
Registered charities are required to state that they are a registered charitable organisation on all notices, advertisements, letters, bills, invoices and other documents issued by the charity. They are also required to submit audited financial statements.
Abi-Gaye White-Thomas B.A., LL.B (Hons)