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Charities legislation

Up to date copies of all Acts of Tynwald currently in force can be downloaded from  PDF versions of all other legislation referred to here is available on this page.

This page includes a description of, and links to, all the Manx legislation regarding charities which is currently in force, as well as to recently repealed legislation, as follows:

Currently in force

The following legislation is currently in force:

Charities Registration and Regulation Act 2019 – The principal Act providing for the registration and regulation of charities in the Isle of Man, which includes the following provisions:

  • Part 2: Definition of “charity” and “charitable purposes” (including the thirteen “heads” of charity)
  • Part 3: Matters concerning the register of charities, including the requirement to register, the details to be held on the register, that the register is public, the application for registration and the matters to be considered in determining an application and the circumstances in which a charity is removed from the register;
  • Part 4: Matters concerning names and governing instruments of charities and notification of certain events, including the requirement for a written governing instrument, for the prior written consent to be obtained from the Attorney General to any amendment of a charity’s governing instrument or name, and for the happening of certain events to be notified to the Attorney General (e.g. amendment of governing instrument or name, change of charity trustee or of their details, change of address provided for service of process or correspondence, winding up or dissolution of the charity) and the provision of a mechanism for adopting or amending a governing instrument where, otherwise, the approval of the court would be required;
  • Part 5: Matters concerning charity trustees, namely the meaning of “charity trustee” and provisions concerning disqualification for being a charity trustee;
  • Part 6: Matters concerning charity accounts and annual reports, including the requirement to file them annually with the Attorney General, provisions as to scrutiny of charity accounts by an auditor or independent examiner, and clarification as to compliance by foreign charities with the requirements;
  • Part 7: Matters concerning charity mergers, including the creation of a register of charity mergers, the notification of a charity merger and the effect of such notification;
  • Part 8: The Attorney General’s functions as regulator, including the requirement to furnish particulars, the power to institute inquiries, the obtaining of search warrants and the power to act for the protection of charities by making applications to the High Court for (inter alia) the removal of a charity trustee or orders concerning the management of a charity’s funds;
  • Part 9: Matters concerning foreign charities, including, should none of the charity trustees ordinarily reside in the Island, the requirement to appoint a “responsible person” resident here who will be responsible for ensuring the compliance by the charity with the requirements of the 2019 Act;
  • Part 10: Matters concerning appeals against certain decisions or directions of the Attorney General, including the creation of a Charities Tribunal; and
  • Part 11: Miscellaneous matters including the authorisation of an officer employed in the Attorney General’s Chambers to perform certain functions of the Attorney General, the power to make regulations, provisions concerning offences (including the making of false and misleading statements), the publication by the Attorney General of approved forms and the requirement for their use, the keeping of records by the Attorney General, the refusal of unacceptable documents and disclosure of information to/by the Attorney General from/to relevant public authorities.

Charities Registration and Regulation Act 2019 (Appointed Day) Order 2019 – Provides for the commencement of the 2019 Act and for certain transitional provisions and savings.

Charities Regulations 2020 – The  principal regulations made under the 2019 Act, which include the following provisions:

  • Part 2: Matters concerning the register of charities and registration, namely details of the particulars and information to be contained in the register (regulation 4), details of information which is not to be made public (regulation 5), the documents to accompany an application for registration (regulation 6) and the information to be registered and included in a certificate of registration (regulation 7);
  • Part 3: Matters concerning governing instruments, including the list of matters in respect of which provision must be made (regulation 8) and the fixing as 1 April 2022 as the date from which the requirement for a written governing instrument will apply to charities in existence on 1 April 2020 (regulation 9);
  • Part 4: Matters concerning annual accounts and reports, including provisions regarding accounting records and systems (regulation 10), the circumstances in which charities may prepare receipts and payments accounts (regulation 11), the requirement to prepare accruals accounts (regulation 12), the auditor’s report (regulation 13), the independent examiner’s report (regulation 14), qualifications of independent examiners (regulation 15), definition of “gross income” (regulation 16) and the information to be contained in an annual report (regulation 17); and
  • Part 5: Supplemental matters, namely the evidence to be filed of winding up or dissolution of a charity (regulation 18), details of information to be furnished to the Attorney General (regulation 19) and the requirement for a registered charity to state specified information in its correspondence, documents and advertising or publicity material (including in electronic form) (regulation 20) and provisions concerning offences (regulation 21).

Charities Tribunals Rules 2020 – made by the Council of Minsters under the Tribunals Act 2006 and provide for the time period for bringing an appeal against a decision of the Attorney General and set out the rules governing the proceedings before the Charities Tribunal.

Charities (Exemption) Regulations 2021 – provide for a foreign charity to be exempt from the requirement to register if the action carried on by it in the Island is limited to awareness raising activities in compliance with a condition of international development grant funding received from the Isle of Man Government.

Religious Charities Regulations 1999 – made under the Charities Registration Act 1989 and provide a list of certain religious charities which are exempt from the requirement to register.

Charities Act 1986 – makes provision for the trustees of certain charities, with the prior written consent of the Attorney General, to pass resolutions to remove any restrictions with regard to the expenditure of capital or to transfer the charity’s endowment to another charity.

Charities Act 1962 – makes provision for the powers of the High Court in relation to charities, provides for certain purposes to be charitable (retained by the 2019 Act), provides for the application of property cy-près, for the taking of legal proceedings and also includes miscellaneous provisions as to charities and their affairs.

Recreational Charities (Isle of Man) Act 1960 – declares to be charitable under Manx law the provision in the interests of social welfare of facilities for recreation or other leisure-time occupation (retained by the 2019 Act).

Charitable Collections (Regulation) Act 1939 – provides for the regulation of collections for charitable purposes, with a licence for house to house collections required from the Chief Constable.

Recently repealed

The following legislation was repealed on 1 April 2020 as a consequence of the coming into force of the Charities Registration and Regulation Act 2019 and the Charities Regulations 2020 so is included here for reference purposes only (in particular in relation to the requirements for the filing of accounts for any accounting year which ended on or before 31 March 2020):

Charities Registration Act 1989 – the principal Act providing for the registration and regulation of charities in the Isle of Man prior to the coming into force of the 2019 Act.

Charities (General) Regulations 1990 – provided forms for applications for registration, notification of charity officials and auditors certificates, as well as imposing requirements as to the keeping of accounting records and their contents.

Charities Regulations 2007 – provided for matters including prescribing the qualifications, and report, of independent examiners.

The Charities (Exemption) Regulations 2008 – provided for charities to be exempt from registration as a charity if they met certain criteria.

Date of publication: May 2021

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