Running a charity - ongoing requirements
This page includes details of the statutory requirements applicable to registered charities, together with guidance as to the notification of certain changes (e.g. changes of trustees and their details) including information about how to make changes to charity names and governing instruments.
The following statutory requirements apply to all registered charities:
- Sections 27 to 29 of the Charities Registration and Regulation Act 2019 – Filing annual accounts and reports – see the Annual accounts and reports page for more information.
- Section 23 of the 2019 Act – Notification within one month of the occurrence of the following events (by completion and submission of the notification form available on the Publications page):
- Change of charity trustee or change of details of a charity trustee;
- Change of responsible person or his or her details – foreign charity only;
- Change of correspondence or other address for the charity; NB The charity trustees should ensure that the correspondence addresses provided, in particular the charity’s e-mail address, remain an effective means of communicating with the charity trustees.
- Amendment of a governing instrument;
- Winding up or dissolution of a charity – see the Winding up/dissolving a charity and removing a charity from the register page for more information;
For more information, see the Guidance on notifying the occurrence of an event using the notification form available on the Publications page.
- Regulation 10 of the Charities Regulations 2020 – requirements concerning a charity’s accounting records and systems – see Regulation 10 for more information.
- Regulation 20 of the 2020 Regulations – requirement for the charity to state specified information on specified documents and communications, including those published in electronic form and any fundraising material – see below for more information.
It is very important that charity trustees are aware of the statutory requirements and that they ensure that they are complied with. The breach of any statutory requirement is an offence, the maximum penalty for which, on summary conviction, is a fine of level 5 on the standard scale (currently £10,000, per section 55 of the Interpretation Act 2015. The effect of section 51 of the 2019 Act and section 54 of the Interpretation Act 2015 is that the charity trustees may be liable for the breach.
The requirements of Regulation 20
Regulation 20 requires that the following information be stated in English in legible characters on the charity communications and documents specified in that regulation:-
- the name of the charity and any other name under which it carries out the activities to which the document or communication relates;
- that it is a registered charity; and
- the Isle of Man charity number and any number with which it has been registered as a charity in a country or territory outside the Island.
Provided that information is given, it is a matter for the charity how it is worded.
Regulation 20 also requires charities to include in the specified communications and documents:-
- the present forenames (or initials) and present surname of each charity trustee; and
- the charity’s postal address or the e-mail address for correspondence.
However, it is not necessary to state the names of the charity trustees and a correspondence address for the charity if, instead, the communication or document concerned includes either the address of the charity’s website or the address of a website on which the Attorney General has published that information (www.gov.im/charities) and the charity trustees have taken reasonable steps to ensure that the information published by the Attorney General is accurate, i.e. kept up to date.
As stated above, failure to comply with Regulation 20 is an offence.
Changes to names and governing instruments
Any change to a charity’s name or governing instrument requires the prior written consent of the Attorney General under sections 18 and 19 of the 2019 Act.
Information concerning the process of obtaining the necessary consent can be found in the Guidance on making changes to the name of a charity or to its governing instrument which is available on the Publications page.
The duties and responsibilities which attach to the role of charity trustee are applicable throughout a charity’s life cycle and charity trustees should make regular reference to the Guidance as to the role of a charity trustee, which is available on the Publications page, and to the provisions of the charity’s governing instrument.
The requirement for a substantial and genuine connection with the Island
This requirement is not only applicable at the time of registration but continues throughout the charity’s life cycle as the Attorney General must remove a charity from the register if he or she considers that it no longer has the required connection with the Island, per section 15(1)(c) of the Charities Registration and Regulation Act 2019.
Further information can be found in the note published by the Attorney General on the requirement for a substantial and genuine connection with the Isle of Man which is available on the Publications page.
The role of the Attorney General
The Attorney General’s functions concerning charities in the Island are primarily those set out in the Charities Registration and Regulation Act 2019. These include keeping the register of charities and making decisions as to the acceptance onto, and removal from, the register and consenting to changes of charity names and governing instruments.
In relation to the ongoing operation of charities, the Attorney General’s powers as regulator include those set out in Part 8 of the 2019 Act, namely:
- section 36 – to require the furnishing of particulars concerning matters referred to in section 36 and in regulation 19 of the Charities Regulations 2020;
- section 37 – to institute inquiries with regard to any institution which is, or which purports to be, established for charitable purposes, including the power to take evidence under oath and to require the production of information and documents;
- section 38 and Schedule – to obtain search warrants;
- section 39 – to act for the protection of charities, by making application to the High Court for, inter alia, the removal or suspension of a charity trustee where there has been misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the institution, it is necessary or desirable to act for the purpose of protecting the institution’s property, or it is in the public interest.
NB If a person is removed by the High Court from the role of charity trustee, he or she is thereafter disqualified for being a charity trustee in relation to a charity registered in the Isle of Man.
The Attorney General is also required to consent to the bringing of any prosecution in respect of a breach of the requirements of the 2019 Act or the 2020 Regulations.
Many charities rely on monies donated by members of the public or by organisations to fund their operations. Before carrying out any fundraising activities, though, it is important to check that the charity has the power to do so. If the charity is an unincorporated association or a trust, its governing instrument should include an express power to raise funds. If the charity is a corporate body, such a power may be provided automatically by the legislation under which it was incorporated or it may be necessary for provision to be included in its governing instrument. If there is any doubt, seek legal advice or contact Charity Administration for guidance.
There are many methods by which charities can raise funds, including through public donations, membership subscriptions and events. If a charity is considering activities which are governed by legislation, including door to door collections, street collections or events where prizes can be won (e.g. raffles, lotteries, race nights, etc), the charity trustees should ensure that the legislative requirements are complied with, including obtaining any necessary consent or licence.
Collections door to door are regulated by the Charitable Collections (Regulation) Act 1939, which provides for the Chief Constable to issue licences. Information concerning licences can be obtained from the Isle of Man Constabulary.
Street collections may be regulated under local Bye-laws. If considering carrying out a street collection, the charity should contact the local authority for the area concerned in order to obtain any necessary approval. Also, in case there are any road safety implications, planned road closures which might impact on the collection or if the collection is to be made during an event for which the road may need to be closed, the charity should contact the Highway Services Division of the Department of Infrastructure.
Prize draws such as raffles, lotteries or tombolas, or events such as race nights, are classed as gambling and are regulated under the Gaming Betting and Lotteries Act 1988, which is overseen by the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission. Further information, including guidance, can be obtained from the Commission.
Please note that it is not necessary to obtain permission from the Attorney General in relation to any fundraising activities. You should only contact Charities Administration if there are concerns as to whether the charity has the power to raise funds, as mentioned above.
Further information is contained in the various Guidance notes and other documents which are available on the Publications page, including the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document.
If the published information does not provide an answer to your query, you are welcome to contact the Charities Administration as below:
Attorney General’s Chambers
Isle of Man
Telephone:+44 1624 687318
Email: Send Email
Date of publication: November 2020