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New charities law approved by States of Jersey

Island aims to be a key jurisdiction for local and international philanthropic work

24 July 2014

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The States of Jersey has approved new legislation aimed at creating a robust and modern legal framework to support all types of international philanthropic and charitable enterprises.

The Charities (Jersey) Law will cater for the needs of small local charities as well as global philanthropic structures and is expected to prove attractive for a wide range of philanthropic and charitable organisations while at the same time providing the appropriate levels of governance and accountability.

Jersey's chief minister, senator Ian Gorst, said: "I am delighted to see the introduction of a Charities Law for Jersey. It is an initiative that is very timely and important for the future of Jersey. A fit-for-purpose, modern Law will, first and foremost, support local charities to flourish for the benefit of our whole community.

"In addition, it also paves the way for the introduction of proportionate, common sense regulation, which will increase both consumer and observer confidence and reduce the potential reputational risks in the charities sector for Jersey."

Gorst continued: "The government, together with the wealth management sector of the finance industry, are actively positioning Jersey as the leading international finance centre for philanthropic wealth structuring.

"We are delivering on a clear commitment made in the government's financial services industry policy framework released in April this year, namely to provide a new legislative regime for charities in Jersey which will further advance the Island as a leading jurisdiction for philanthropic wealth management," he concluded.

The new law includes a charity test, determined by the charity commissioner, for all registered charities, which guarantees that they can only have charitable purposes and must provide public benefit.

Governors of a charity will be required to ensure the organisation acts in accordance with the law, pursues the stated charitable purposes and delivers public benefit.

Registered charities will be entitled to receive charitable tax reliefs and to call themselves a charity. The law also brings in restrictions on using the terms 'charity' and 'charitable', with only a registered charity being able to call itself a 'charity' and regulations being developed to restrict using 'charitable' by non-registered entities that undertake any public fundraising activities.

Geoff Cook, CEO of Jersey Finance, said: "For some time, Jersey has evidenced a strong philanthropic element as part of its wealth management services, largely through its well-used trusts, foundations and corporate vehicles.

"This new law, however, will add a welcome degree of clarity and structure to Jersey's charitable framework, setting it apart from other centres and furthering its reputation as a leading centre for global philanthropy."

Cook added: "The new law achieves the sophisticated balance between the flexibility required by industry and the governance and accountability required by the giving public. It has been tailored to meet the needs of a wide variety of charitable and philanthropic organisations, embracing of the requirements of small local charities and equally attractive to the big global philanthropic organisations."

Philanthropy was 'very or extremely important' to 60 per cent of high net worth individuals around the world, according to the Capgemini/RBC Wealth Management World Wealth Report 2014.

Categorised in:

Charities Tax & Wealth structuring