How to register a charity

July 01, 2016
Food For The Poor is one of the many charities operating in Jamaicaa. In this file photo, Conroy Nelson is sandwiched by twin daughters, Alicia (left) and Alisha, as they stand in front of their new house which was donated by the charity group.

There are several charities that operate in Jamaica that assist persons and organisations. In order to benefit from certain tax waivers, these organisations must be registered with the Companies Office of Jamaica. Here is how to register a charity:

1.The entity must:

• Be established for charitable purposes exclusively.

• Operate for public benefit.

• Have no part of its net income or assets ensuring to the personal benefit of any governing broad member or settler of the organisation, or of any other private individual.

2. The Companies Office of Jamaica is the Registrar of Charities.

3. The registration of a non-profit organisation can be facilitated by either the Department of Cooperatives and Friendly Societies or The Companies Office of Jamaica.

4. In order to register a charity, a visit must be made to the Department of Cooperatives and Friendly Societies, located at 2 Musgrave Avenue, Kingston 10, Jamaica, to access the application form and the fit and proper questionnaire. The questionnaire is to be completed by each individual on the board and the secretary and submitted along with a passport-size photograph.

5. There is no restriction on the number of persons needed to be part of the charity for it to be registered.

6. Overseas entities wishing to do charitable activities in Jamaica are required to be registered under the Charities Act. They should first be incorporated within Jamaica as one of the varied types of legal entities.

7. Annual returns and financial audits for the prior year should be filed with the Charities Authority no later than March 31.

8. The renewal process will be automatic if there is to be no change in any of the following:

• Constitutive documents.

• Governance structure, except for a change in directors through elections, which would have already been communicated to the Charities Authority.

• Tax Registration Number.

9. Charity registration is valid for two years and is non-transferrable.

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