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Register Of NZ Charities Will Open Next Year

Register Of NZ Charities Will Open Next Year

The registration of charities under the new Charities Act will begin in February 2007, providing members of the public with more information about the nature, activities and purposes of charities in New Zealand, said the Charities Commission today.

Chief Executive of the Charities Commission Trevor Garrett said the Charities Register, which will be available at www.charities.govt.nz, will help to promote and maintain public confidence in the charitable sector.

"The Register will become a valuable resource for anyone who wants to make an informed donation to charity," he said. "The rules and annual returns of every registered charity will be publicly available, which will help to demonstrate how and on what funds are used."

"Most significantly, the Commission will provide an assurance to the public that every registered charity has passed our charitable purpose test meaning they are engaged in genuinely charitable acts directed towards the public benefit."

Charities registered under the Charities Act will receive a unique registration number, which will indicate to the public that the charity has met the requirements of registration. Members of the public will be entitled to ask fundraisers for this number in situations where there is any doubt about a charity's legitimacy.

While registration with the Charities Commission is voluntary, existing charitable organisations need to register before 1 July 2008 to continue to qualify for income tax and gift duty exemptions.

"This is a significant change for New Zealand's charitable sector," said Mr Garrett. "However, the starting date for registration will give charities additional time to consider registration under the Charities Act, and prepare for registration by gathering the information and materials needed. They will then have 17 months to register with the Charities Commission before the tax laws change."

Mr Garrett said that the Commission has already begun an extensive education and communication programme, to ensure New Zealand charities know what to do and when.

The Charities Act established the Charities Commission on 1 July 2005 to provide a registration and monitoring system for charitable organisations in New Zealand and to provide education and support to the charitable sector.


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