Jersey’s Charity Commissioner, John Mills CBE, has published his initial draft guidance on the operation of the new law and is seeking the public’s views, in particular on the ‘charity test’ that will govern how organisations may become Jersey registered charities.
Since his appointment in July 2017, Mr Mills has been meeting with a wide range of people in the charity sector and finance industry to hear their views about the new regulatory regime and the developing plan for the Island’s first public register of charities, to be set up under the Charities Law enacted in 2014 by the States.
The draft guidance published today is the next stage of the process of engagement and the Commissioner is seeking feedback from all sectors of the Island community via his website that is also launched today at charitycommissioner.je
From 2019, being a registered charity will be the only means by which an entity now describing itself thus will be entitled to continue doing that, and, subject to some transitional provisions , continue to obtain all the tax reliefs afforded to charities.
The charity register will contain key information about each charity and, with some limited exceptions, will be fully open to public inspection so that people can if they wish understand more about the purposes, finances and public benefit delivery of the charities that they may wish to support.
Speaking today Mr Mills said:
“The draft guidance I have published today addresses how I shall approach decision-making on the charity test established by the new Law. It sets out the main principles and factors to which I will have regard in operating the law.
To aid the consultation process, I have arranged several meetings where people, especially those involved with organisations that will seek to become registered charities, can hear about the operation of the new law and ask whatever questions they wish.”
The first meetings will be held at the St Bernadette’s Church Hall (opposite Communicare), St Brelade: starting at 7.30 pm Tuesday 27th February 2018 and the Town Hall, St Helier starting at 1.00 pm Monday 5th March 2018.
Mr Mills said:
“I shall follow this up soon with further consultation on other guidance that I am preparing – notably on the applications process for registration itself and the precise information, including financial information that will be required, the duties of governors, and procedure for annual returns from 2019.”
“The Jersey charity register is due to be open for business from May 2018. It is important to note that there will be no impact on the current tax reliefs enjoyed by any charity in the short term provided that it has applied for registration by the end of 2018 even if that registration has not been determined by the end of the year. Subject to that, such an organisation’s continuing entitlement to preferential tax arrangements will depend upon whether or not it has successfully become a registered charity, which I shall have certified to the Comptroller of Taxes.”
“I continue to be very encouraged by the support I have seen from all quarters for the new charity register and the regulatory arrangements that will encompass it. The new Charities Law is a significant reform concerning a very important sphere of civil society in Jersey. When the new arrangements are bedded in, I am confident they will serve to help achieve the purpose set in the Law of increasing public trust and confidence in all Jersey’s registered charities.”