Charities to file first annual returns in March
Some 544 entities have applied to the Department of Cooperatives and Friendly Societies (DCFS) for registration as charitable bodies.
Registrar Errol Gallimore said that 370 have been registered to date, with the others under review, and that the registered entities are expected to file their first annual returns and audited financial statements to DCFS by March 31.
However, Gallimore also said his department is expecting that some of the new registrants may need more time to get their finances in order, which DCFS is willing to grant up to June 30. He said that annual filings after this year will have to meet the annual March deadline.
DCFS, a department of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, is the designated Charities Authority under the Charities Act 2013.
for public benefit
Charities are defined under the act as entities operating for public benefit, and which will apply all property and proceeds to the work of the organisation, avoiding the use of any part of net income for the personal benefit of any board member, or any other private individual.
Under Section 7 of the new law, it is now a requirement for all approved charitable organisations to file annual returns and audited financial statements in March, regardless of the entity's financial yearend.
A notice from Gallimore to the charities states that audits must be compliant with International Financial Reporting Standards.
Two copies of the audited financial statements are required to facilitate filing of one copy to Tax Administration Jamaica by the Charities Authority.
Gallimore also noted that the accounts must be certified by an auditor, registered by the Institute of Chartered Accounts of Jamaica, the Public Accountancy Board, or from among DCFS' own panel of approved auditors.
The registrar said the filings will serve to bring "the regulation of charities to international standards".