What is this new Charities law?

On 21 November 2014, parts of the Charities (Jersey) Law 2014 were enacted and came into effect. The law has, amongst other things, introduced a test for what constitutes a charity, it has established a new position of a Charity Commissioner and it has created a new Jersey body – the Charity Tribunal. 

I run a Charity - what do I need to do now this new charities law has been introduced?

At this stage, only the parts of the law relating to the establishment of a ‘Charities Test’ and the position of the Charity Commissioner have been enacted. Therefore at this stage there is little impact to existing charities.

Do I need to register as a charity on the new charities register when it is introduced?

If you are a charity already established in Jersey, happily there is no obligation for you to become a registered charity under the new law if you do not wish to do so. Charities may continue to operate under existing customary law as they have prior to the introduction of the new law.  However, once the parts of the charities law relating to the charities register have come into effect, only a charity registered under the law can refer to itself as a charity and receive tax relief as a benefit of being registered as a charity.  If your charity does want to accept contributions from the general public or wish to take advantage of tax exemptions or simply wish to still be able to refer to itself as a charity then you should register once this becomes possible with the enactment of the rest of the law.

What can I do to prepare?

If you do want to become a registered jersey charity and not simply continue to operate under existing customary law then you should prepare a purpose statement, a public benefit statement, review your constitutional documents so that you are certain that they will comply and meet the criteria of the new charity test and finally review if you could file accounts for and on behalf your charity.