Becoming a charity in Jersey
If you would like your organisation to become a charity, there are a number of important points you should consider before applying. These are set out below.
Remember – From the 1st January 2019, it is against the law to describe yourself as a Jersey Charity unless you are on the Jersey Charity Register.
UK and foreign charities
A foreign charity can apply to become a Jersey registered charity if it carries out substantial activity in Jersey and it has an address in Jersey. Essentially, it is applying on the same basis as a Jersey entity would apply.
A foreign charity, which is not registered in Jersey, can call itself a charity if it is classed as an “excepted foreign charity”. To be an “excepted foreign charity” it must be established under the laws of the UK, or in a jurisdiction recognised by the Chief Minister under the Charities Law, and entitled to call itself a charity under the laws applicable in that jurisdiction.
A foreign charity which is not an “excepted foreign charity” cannot call itself a charity whilst operating in Jersey unless it registers here.
A foreign charity, unless it registers in Jersey, will not receive the special tax exemptions provided for under Jersey tax law. It is possible that some reliefs will be available under tax arrangements with the UK or Guernsey, but you will need to take tax advice on this. It is envisaged that these arrangements will be maintained for the time being, although this will be reviewed, in due course, alongside the other charitable tax reliefs.
Is becoming a charity the right choice for your organisation?
You should weigh the benefits of becoming a charity against the duties and responsibilities you would be taking on. For instance:
Being a regulated organisation can assure you of public goodwill and trust. Some funders may only consider registered charities. However, many organisations choose alternatives that are better suited to their needs and some prefer to work with an existing charity.
Tax benefits – registered charities may qualify for certain charitable tax reliefs. However, for some charities, particularly smaller ones, the effect of tax relief may be minimal depending on the nature of their activities.
The people who control charities (charity governors) have legal responsibilities to act in certain ways and provide certain information to the Charity Commissioner and the public. Depending on the charity’s legal structure they may also be known as directors, office holders or committee members. You can find more information about the responsibilities of charity governors on the website at: Charity Governor’s Duties.
You must get the Commissioner’s permission before making certain changes, such as changing your purposes or winding up.
If you produce financial accounts, you will need to submit them with your application. All applicants will be required to provide basic financial information.