Need help to set up your charity?

The Jersey Charity Commissioner can offer you general guidance on the application process but cannot help you to set up your charity, as you will have your own individual circumstances. However, you can read the Commissioner’s publications and help is available from other sources.

What does it mean to be a charity?

Any entity may apply to be a registered charity if it has a written constitution and is either a Jersey entity or carry out substantial activity in or from within Jersey. A charity in Jersey is an organisation which is entered on the Jersey Charity Register. An organisation can only become a charity if it meets the ‘charity test’, meaning that it must show it has only charitable purposes and benefits the public.

The Jersey Charity Commissioner decides whether to grant an organisation charitable status and to enter it on the Register. The Commissioner monitors the charity to check it complies with the law. The Commissioner seeks to encourage a flourishing charity sector that the public can trust. So, if your organisation becomes a charity, it will be granted a status that recognises its contribution to society but also carries lasting legal responsibilities.

All charities must submit an annual return and accounts if it produces them to the Commissioner every year and seek permission to make certain changes.

Meeting the charity test

Your organisation can only become a charity if it meets the charity test. To do this it must have only charitable purposes and it must provide public benefit in Jersey or elsewhere. Further detail in relation to the Charity Test is set out in Guidance Note 2 and in the Charities (Jersey) Law 2014, both of which can be found on this website under the section “Guidance and Regulation”.

Your organisation may fail the charity test if:

  • its constitution allows its assets to be distributed or applied for non-charitable purposes unless those purposes are purely ancillary or incidental to its main purposes.
  • its constitution expressly permits a Minister, or expressly requires the same to be a Governor or a member of the States Assembly to direct or control its activities
  • it is a political party or one of its purposes is to advance a political party or promote a candidate for election to any office, whether in Jersey or elsewhere.

When the Commissioner looks at how your organisation provides public benefit, he or she will need to consider if:

  • that benefit gives effect to its charitable purposes, and is provided to a reasonable degree
  • there is any private benefit from your organisation’s activities
  • there is any disbenefit to the public from its activities, even if there is benefit as well
  • there may be any unduly restrictive conditions on accessing the benefit your organisation provides.

Full a full explanation of the Charity Test, please refer to the Commissioner’s Guidance Note 2, found on this website in the section “Guidance and Regulation”.