To register a Charity in Jamaica, one has to take into consideration the Charity’s Act. This Act provides a comprehensive regime for registration, monitoring, and tax treatment of charities. For an organisation to be registered as a charity it will need to fulfil certain requirements including, it must be either
- A charitable trust, or
- An incorporated or unincorporated institution that
- a) It is established exclusively for a charitable purpose,
- b) It intends to and does operate for the public benefit; and
- c) No part of its net income or assets ensures to the personal benefit of any governing board member or settler of the charity, or of any other private individual
Registration Requirements for Charitable Status:
Applications for registration are to be made to the Department of Cooperatives and Friendly Societies (DCFS) located at: 2 Musgrave Avenue, Kingston 10, Telephone: 927-4912/927-6572 or 978-1946. A certificate is issued which is valid for 2 years. This must be renewed when expired.
You will need an application form which can be located on their website www.dcfs.gov.jm. Each of the governing board members (i.e. the directors or trustees and the secretary) of a charity will be required to complete a Fit and Proper Form which will be signed in front of a Justice of the Peace confirming them to be a fit and proper person.
This means that:
- Such persons must not have been convicted of an offence involving dishonesty or be an undercharged bankrupt,
- And must be, in the Authority’s assessment, a person of sound probity, able to exercise competence, diligence and sound judgment in fulfilling his or her responsibilities.
Benefit of Charitable Status: There is no requirement to make separate applications for tax waivers/exemptions in respect of: Customs duty, General Consumption Tax (GCT) and Special Consumption Tax(SCT), Income Tax, Property Tax, Stamp Duty, And Transfer Tax etc. These exemptions will now be automatic.
If one chooses to incorporate a non-profit company to obtain Charitable Status, they will be required to do so through the Companies Office of Jamaica.
See our article: What Qualifies As a Charity, According to Jamaican Laws?
See a list of registered charities in Jamaica: Tax Administration Jamaica’s List of Registered Charities OR Companies Office of Jamaica listing