New Charities Law for Jersey

03 Jun 2014

The draft Charities (Jersey) Law 201- (the "Charities Law") has been lodged today for debate in July by the States Assembly (Jersey's government).  The proposed introduction of the Charities Law forms part of the Island's initiative to develop Jersey's position as a centre of excellence for philanthropic wealth structuring.

Trusts and foundations are the two key structures used for philanthropy in Jersey with the Trusts (Jersey) Law 1984 and the Foundations (Jersey) Law 2009 both placing a strong emphasis on the importance of flexibility, allowing for the creation of structures designed to meet an individual client's requirements.

The Charities Law will complement these two pieces of legislation by introducing a new definition of charitable purposes and, for those wishing to register as a Jersey charity, a charity test together with a system of registration.

Key elements of the Charities Law are that it will:

  • provide for a Charity Commissioner, whose functions will include the issuance of guidance on the operation of the Charities Law, administration of the charity test, and maintenance of the register of charities
  • define charitable purposes and other elements of the charity test, including public benefit;
  • establish a register of charities, with general, restricted and historic sections, providing for differing levels of public access. The restricted section, in respect of which public access to information will be limited, will be available for those using their own moneys to fund a structure and not wishing to solicit donations from the public. Registration as a charity will be voluntary, but will be relevant in determining entitlement to certain charitable tax reliefs and to the use of the term "charity". For those not wishing to register as a charity, tax neutrality is to be preserved for structures with no beneficiaries in Jersey and no income deriving from land and buildings in the Island.

Jersey represents an attractive choice as the jurisdiction in which to establish philanthropic structures for a variety of reasons.  In addition to legislation which, as noted above, places a strong emphasis on flexibility (allowing for the establishment of structures tailored to individual client requirements), key reasons for choosing Jersey are that the Island offers stability (politically, economically and geographically), a robust and highly regarded regulatory regime, a well-respected judicial system with adherence to the rule of law, and a depth and breadth of experience amongst its professional advisers.

For access to the draft Charities Law and, for further information, please contact Zillah Howard (a member of the Charities Law working group).  A briefing on the Charities Law will be prepared in due course.