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Jersey Introduces Charities Law

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
23 July, 2014

Jersey has introduced new flexible legislation for charities, which are designed to cater for the needs of small local charities as well as global philanthropic structures, to bolster Jersey's financial services offering.

The Charities (Jersey) Law, approved by the States of Jersey on July 18, 2014, only applies to genuinely philanthropic activities providing a public benefit, as determined by the Charity Commissioner. In addition, it introduces an ongoing obligation on the managers of the charity (trustees, director, or foundation members, etc.) to ensure that the charity acts in accordance with the new law.

Charities registered under the new law will be able to receive charitable tax relief and call themselves 'charities'. The terms 'charity' and 'charitable' are to be restricted by new regulations to prevent their use by non-registered entities that undertake any public fund-raising activities.

Jersey Finance, the island's promotional agency, said that the legislation is intended to provide a modern and robust charities framework that is attractive for a wide range of philanthropic and charitable organisations, while at the same time providing appropriate levels of governance and accountability.

Geoff Cook, Chief Executive Officer 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 centers and furthering its reputation as a leading center for global philanthropy."

"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. No other jurisdiction offers a better and more flexible framework to conduct philanthropic and charitable endeavors and, for this reason, we expect the introduction of this law to be of particular interest to the growing number of high net worth individuals, family offices and their advisers in key markets around the world who are increasingly engaged in this area."

Ian Gorst, Jersey's Chief Minister, 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."

"The Government, together with the wealth management sector of the finance industry, are actively positioning Jersey as the leading international finance center 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."

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