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Encyclopedia > Charities

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Legal definitions

A "charity" is a trust, company or unincorporated association established for charitable purposes only. (Trusts or bodies established partly for charitable purposes are sometimes considered as, or treated as, charities: this is a matter of definition.)


In law the concept of "charitable" purpose has a technical meaning which is not quite the same as the way that the word is used in normal language. In common law jurisdictions the concept derives loosely from the meandering list of charitable purposes in the Charitable Uses Act (also know as the Statute of Elizabeth) 1601, interpreted and expanded in a considerable body of case law. In Commissioners for Special Purposes of Income Tax v Pemsel (1891) Lord McNaughten identified four heads of charity: (1) relief of poverty, (2) the advancement of education, (3) the advancement of religion, and (4) other purposes considered beneficial to the community. For a purpose to fall into the fourth category the courts will usually refer to the preamble of the Charitable Uses Act 1601, and decide by analogy to the purposes listed there. An example of this is the case of Vancouver Regional Freenet Association v Minister of National Revenue (1996), where free internet access was likened by analogy to the repair of highways found in the preamble to the Charitable Uses Act 1601. World map showing percentage of people living under national poverty lines. ...


In many common law jurisdictions the common law definition has been replaced by a statutory definition, but without greatly changing the underlying concept.


Charities are non-profit organisations. A non-profit organization (often called non-profit org or simply non-profit or not-for-profit) can be seen as an organization that doesnt have a goal to make a profit. ...


Charities are sometimes referred to as foundations A Foundation is a type of philanthropic organization set up by either individuals or institutions as a legal entity (either as a corporation or trust) with the purpose of distributing grants to support causes in line with the goals of the foundation. ...


General

In many countries the charity sector is fast growing. Charities often take over services that used to be provided by the state, such as health, old age and unemployment, as the state finds it increasingly difficult to fulfill its traditional social responsibility.


Supervision

Charities are normally subject to some form of supervision by the government. Most countries require registration of charities, and the charity is then required to report its activities (especially financial ones) to the government, usually on an annual basis.


Supervision can reduce the possibilities of charity fraud and may be thought particularly justified where charities receive Tax exemptions. However supervision may also allow the government to influence the scope and agenda of charities (e.g. RSPCA Told to Put Human Needs Before Animal Pain). Charity fraud is the act of using deception to get money from people who are making donations to charities. ... A tax exemption is an exemption to the tax law of a state or nation in which part of the taxes that would normally be collected from an individual or an organization are instead foregone. ...


In the United States, because of the principle of separation of church and state, churches and other religious organisations are often exempt from this legal requirement, although they are often overseen by a church hierarchy. The separation of church and state is a political doctrine which states that the institutions of the state or national government should be kept separate from those of religious institutions. ... // Origins of Christian places of worship The architecture of Christian worship space grew out of the regular meetings of the followers of Christianity in private houses (see 1 Cor. ...


Charities in different countries

Australia

In Australia, non-profit organisations and charities are registered with the Australian Taxation Office as deductible gift recipients (DGR). The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is the Australian government agency that collects taxes and enforces taxation legislation (except customs and external revenues, which are handled by the Australian Customs Service). ...


Canada

Canada has over 75,000 registered charities, of which more than 40% are places or worship such as churches and mosques. Other registered charities include institutions such as universities and libraries. About 23% of registered charities exist to help the disadvantaged. Annual giving in Canada is over $90 billion CDN, if one puts a dollar figure on volunteer time. The most charitable province is Newfoundland and Labrador, which has the highest rate of individual donations per capita. Canadians give, on average, $239 dollars per year to charity. About one third of Canadians volunteer annually and 5% of corporations make donations. In Canada, approximately two-thirds of the funding for charitable foundations comes from the government. // Origins of Christian places of worship The architecture of Christian worship space grew out of the regular meetings of the followers of Christianity in private houses (see 1 Cor. ... The Badshahi Masjid in Lahore, Pakistan with an iwan at center, three domes, and five visible minarets A mosque is a place of worship for followers of the Islamic faith. ... CDN may stand for: Canada Content Delivery Network CDNHost This page concerning a three-letter acronym or abbreviation is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Motto: Quaerite Prime Regnum Dei (Latin: Seek ye first the kingdom of God) Official languages None Capital St. ... A corporation (usually known in the United Kingdom and Ireland as a company) is a legal entity (distinct from a natural person) that often has similar rights in law to those of a Civil law systems may refer to corporations as moral persons; they may also go by the name...


The level of government funding has recently caused controversy as cutbacks have led to problems with such programmes as food banks. Another controversy is the denial of charitable status to environmental and political groups. There have also been calls for greater regulation of the charitable sector. Recent years have seen a new breed of charities that pour most of their donations into marketing. These groups grow quickly and attract many donors but a far smaller fraction of each donation goes to help the needy. A food bank is a place where food, typically non-perishable goods, are offered to the poor for free or at very low prices. ...

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) administers: tax laws for the Government of Canada and for most provinces and territories; international trade legislation; and various social and economic benefit and incentive programs delivered through the tax system. ... A Foundation is a type of philanthropic organization set up by either individuals or institutions as a legal entity (either as a corporation or trust) with the purpose of distributing grants to support causes in line with the goals of the foundation. ...

United Kingdom

There were over 200,000 registered charities in the UK at the start of 2005. 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

  • The 180,000+ charities in England and Wales are generally registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. The Charity Commission has an online register listing them all. Many charities take the form of limited liability companies and and these are also registered with Companies House. (The main reason for using a company is to obtain limited liability for the Trustees). Major changes to English charity law are proposed in the Charities Bill 2006. One of these charities is Dreamwall.
  • The 5,000 or so charities in Northern Ireland are registered with the Inland Revenue. There is no central register of these charities, but this is presently under discussion.

Royal motto (French): Dieu et mon droit (Translated: God and my right) Englands location (dark green) within the United Kingdom (light green), with the Republic of Ireland (blue) to its west Languages English Capital London Largest city London Area – Total Ranked 1st UK 130,395 km² Population – Total (mid... For an explanation of often confusing terms such as Great Britain, Britain, United Kingdom, England and Wales and England, see British Isles (terminology). ... The Charity Commission is the non-ministerial government department that regulates registered charities (and hence to some extent most churches) in England and Wales. ... Companies House is an Executive Agency of the United Kingdom Government Department of Trade and Industry. ... The word trustee is a legal term that refers to a holder of property on behalf of some other beneficiary. ... Dreamwall is a charity based in South Eastern England. ... Motto: Nemo me impune lacessit (English: No one provokes me with impunity) Scotlands location within Europe Scotlands location within the United Kingdom Languages English, Gaelic, Scots Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow First Minister Jack McConnell Area - Total - % water Ranked 2nd UK 78,782 km² 1. ... The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) is an Executive Agency of the Scottish Executive Development Department with responsibilty for the regulation of Scottish charities. ... Dieu et mon droit (motto) (French for God and my right)2 Northern Irelands location within the UK Main language English Other recognised languages Irish, Ulster Scots Capital and largest city Belfast First Minister Office suspended Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Peter Hain MP Area  - Total Ranked 4th... The Inland Revenue was, until April 2005, a department of the British Government responsible for the collection of direct taxation, including income tax, national insurance contributions, capital gains tax, inheritance tax, corporation tax, petroleum revenue tax and stamp duty. ...

United States

In the United States of America, the Attorney General of each state maintains a registry of charitable organizations. According to a report of Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University published by the Giving USA Foundation, as of 2005, there are 1,010,395 charities in the USA. In most common law jurisdictions, the Attorney General is the main legal adviser to the government, and in some jurisdictions may in addition have executive responsibility for law enforcement or responsibility for public prosecutions. ... Indiana University, founded in 1820, is a nine-campus university system in the state of Indiana. ...


Tax treatment of charities and gifts to charity

In common law jurisdictions, charities generally enjoy tax exemption for their income, and donors generally enjoy tax reliefs for gifts to charity. Details vary of course from country to country.


In the United States, there are complex tax law differences between private and public charities.


Donations to charities in the United States are deductible for income tax purposes if the organization has exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service, usually under non-profit organization sec. 501(c)(3) of the tax code. Any organization meeting the rules of that section can be classified a charity in the US, including trusts, foundations, and corporations. The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... Seal of the Internal Revenue Service The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the United States government agency that collects taxes and enforces the tax laws. ... A nonprofit organization (sometimes abbreviated to not-for-profit, non-profit, or NPO) is an organization whose primary objective is to support some issue or matter of private interest or public concern for non-commercial purposes. ... Allegorical personification of Charity as a mother with three infants by Anthony van Dyck Charity, meaning selfless giving, is one conventional English translation of the Greek term agapē. // Etymology In the 1400, charity meant the state of love or simple affection which one was in or out of regarding one...


US tax law also allows trusts that do not qualify as exempt under 501(c)(3) to get significant tax advantages if they are set up with specific provisions.([1]). These are called Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRT) and Charitable Lead Trusts (CLT). Charitable Remainder Trusts are so named because the remainder of the assets in the trust passes to a designated charity at the death of the grantor or one or more beneficiaries. A current tax deduction is given for the portion that is determined to be the expected amount the charity will receive in the future, which is called the remainder. During the lifetime of the primary beneficiary, a percentage of assets or a fixed dollar amount are paid to the primary beneficiary. There are two primary types of CRTs: Charitable Remainder Unitrusts (CRUT), where a percentage of assets is received by the lifetime beneficiary, and Charitable Remainder Annuity Trusts (CRAT), where a fixed dollar amount is received every year. Charities or other trustees are also allowed to set up pooled trusts that operate similarly to individual CRTs except that they receive contributions from multiple donors. This allows each donor similar benefits as an individual CRT without the expense of creating the trust themselves.[2] The Charitable Lead Trust is essentially the reverse of a Charitable Remainder Trust ([3]). In this form, the lifetime payments go to the charity and the remainder returns to the donor or to the donor's estate or other beneficiaries. Thus the two types of CLTs are CLUTs and CLATs, which are analogous to CRUTs and CRATs. Tax law is the codified system of laws that describes government levies on economic transactions, commonly called taxes. ... In common law legal systems, a trust is a contractual relationship in which a person or entity (the trustee) has legal title to certain property (the trust property or trust corpus), but is bound by a fiduciary duty to exercise that legal control for the benefit of one or more...


Similarly named and often confused with CRUTs and CRATs are Grantor Retained Unitrusts (GRUT) and Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRAT) ([4]). The difference is that GRUTs and GRATs do not involve charitable beneficiaries and therefore are not given the charitable deduction.


See also

The cy pres doctrine (pronounced as see-pray) is doctrine of the Court of equity. ... This is a list of environmental organizations, organizations that preserve, analyze or monitor the environment in different ways. ... International General Civitan Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce) Kiwanis Lions Clubs International Optimist International Red Cross Rotary International Ruritan Samaritans Woodsmen of the World Masonry Freemasonry Scottish Rite York Rite Shriners Masonic Youth Organizations Fraternal Forestry Ancient Order of Foresters Ancient Order of United Workmen Independent Order of Foresters Australia... Program evaluation is essentially a set of philosophies and techniques to determine if a program works. It is a practice field that has emerged, particularly in the USA, as a disciplined way of assessing the merit, value, and worth of projects and programs. ... It has been suggested that Social entrepreneurship be merged into this article or section. ... New Wellcome Trust building on Euston Road The Wellcome Trust is a United Kingdom-based charity established in 1936 to disburse the fortune of the pharmaceutical magnate Sir Andy Palmer and the income of Burroughs Wellcome & Co. ...

External links

Charity regulating bodies

News, information and services in the charity sector

  • Charitable Remainder Trust alternative tax deferral strategies with a private annuity trust.

International

United Kingdom

Evaluations of charities

United States

Starting a charity


Topics related to charity:
Philanthropy | Alms | Tzedakah | Zakat | Altruism | Gift | Donation
Non-governmental organization | Registered charity, Charitable trust | Foundation | Non-profit organization | Not-for-profit corporation
Volunteer | Philanthropist Allegorical personification of Charity as a mother with three infants by Anthony van Dyck Charity, meaning selfless giving, is one conventional English translation of the Greek term agapē. // Etymology In the 1400, charity meant the state of love or simple affection which one was in or out of regarding one... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Alms Bag taken from some Tapestry in Orleans, Fifteenth Century. ... Tzedakah (Hebrew: צדקה) in Judaism, is the Hebrew term most commonly translated as charity, though it is based on a root meaning justice (צדק). According to Maimonides, there are eight levels of tzedakah in Jewish tradition, ranging from publicly giving funds, so that the donor and recipient both know who each other... Zakât (or Zakaat or Zakah) (English:tax, alms, tithe) (Arabic: زكاة, Old (Quran) Arabic: زكوة) is the third of the Five Pillars of Islam in Sunni Islam and one of the Branches of Religion in Shia Islam. ... Altruism is the practice of placing others before oneself. ... This page is about gifts in the common English-language sense. ... A donation is a gift to a fund or cause, typically for charitable reasons. ... A non-governmental organization (NGO) is a non-profit group or association that acts outside of institutionalized political structures and pursues matters of interest to its members by lobbying, persuasion, or direct action. ... A charitable trust (or charity) is a trust organized to serve private or public charitable purposes. ... A Foundation is a type of philanthropic organization set up by either individuals or institutions as a legal entity (either as a corporation or trust) with the purpose of distributing grants to support causes in line with the goals of the foundation. ... A nonprofit organization (sometimes abbreviated to not-for-profit, non-profit, or NPO) is an organization whose primary objective is to support some issue or matter of private interest or public concern for non-commercial purposes. ... A Not-for-profit corporation is a corporation created by statute, government or judicial authority that does not issue stock. ... This group of political volunteers is working to promote voter turn-out. ... A philanthropist is someone who devotes his/her time, money, or effort towards helping others. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Charity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1145 words)
In the 1400, charity meant 'the state of love or simple affection which one was in or out of regarding one's fellows; an occasion or body of people seeking to embody that state; the love of god, in both directions.' The fraternity was the embodiment of this ideal.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity is also used as a forename, intended to evoke the idea that one so named is a giving person.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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