Bermuda's new Charities Act 2014 (the Act) becomes operative on 31 December 2014. The Act repeals and replaces the Charities Act 1978 with substantial amendment and complements Bermuda's sensible, well-regarded legislative framework for the establishment of charities. The Act reinforces Bermuda as a preferential and user-friendly jurisdiction for the creation and management of international charitable and philanthropic structures.

Based largely on the Charities Act 2011 of the UK, the Act clarifies what is meant by charity, gives the Registrar and Charity Commissioners increased regulatory authority, and strengthens reporting requirements for registered charities.

Registration of a charitable structure is optional in Bermuda if funds are not solicited or received from the public in Bermuda and if it falls within one of the anti-money laundering regimes, providing flexibility to international structures.

In summary, the Act's salient features include that it:

  • Applies to all entities established in Bermuda for exclusively charitable purposes and for the public benefit;
  • Expands the definition of charitable purpose and imposes a public benefit requirement;
  • Defines the objectives of the Registrar General and the Charity Commissioners including to increase and promote public confidence, public benefit, compliance, charitable resources and accountability;
  • Confirms the functions of the Registrar including: the determination of whether an entity is charitable; encouraging better administration of charities; investigating misconduct and mismanagement of charities and taking appropriate action; maintaining a register of Charities;
  • Requires every Bermuda charity to be registered unless (i) it is exempt by regulations made by the Minister, or (ii) it is privately funded and does not solicit or receive funds from the Bermuda public, and (a) in the case of a trust, has a licensed trustee or private trust company as trustee or (b) has a registered office with and is subject to compliance by a Bermuda regulated institution; and
  • Requires registered charities to pay fees each year based on their annual incomes.

You can download our Brief for more information on the Act here. BRIEF

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