Q: I’ve registered my charity. What do I have to do now?
A: We put this question to our consultant who has agreed to let us publish (with slight edits) the advice he passes to his clients once they are registered.
Please note that this advice is for guidance only and may not cover everything as organisations and circumstances differ and legislative changes occur. Please contact us should you wish to correct or add to the information in this page.
Now that your organisation has been registered, you are responsible for the administration of the organisation. Whatever the structure that you have chosen for the organisation (trust/ incorporated society etc) the principles are similar.
You can obtain notes on governance from organisations such as Auckland North Community and Development (ANCAD) – formerly North Shore Community and Social Services The Institute of Directors and other organisations also run courses and workshops on governance. Many of these are advertised in www.not-for-profit.org.nz
CHARITIES SERVICES (DEPARTMENT OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS) – FORMERLY THE CHARITIES COMMISSION www.charities.govt.nz
If you are a registered charity, there are certain requirements peculiar to such bodies.
You must advise Charities Services (CS) of any material changes within 3 months. Such changes may include:
- Change of the organisation’s address, telephone number, email address, website address etc
- Addition or removal of an officer (see the CS website for definitions of who is an officer).
- Rule Changes
These changes can be advised online (though I suggest that if you are adding an officer you should complete and hold on file a signed copy of the certification form – they are no longer required to be submitted in hard copy).
You must submit an Annual Return within 6 months of the end of your Financial Year. This can be done online (and it is cheaper to do this). You will need to include, or send separately, a set of approved (by the trustees/members) accounts. They will need to be audited if your foundation document (rules, deed etc) so requires or if your group wishes to have them formally audited, otherwise they must be approved by the Executive Board.
NOTE THAT WITH EFFECT FROM the financial year commencing after 1 APRIL 2015 your accounts must be kept (and Annual Report Submitted to CS) in accordance with the new XRB rules and formats to comply with new legislation. See www.xrb.govt.nz for details. Essentially if your operating payments are under $125,000 per annum and do not have public accountability you are considered a Tier 4 organisation and can use cash accounting and the ‘Simple Format Report’. [Look for PBE SFR-C (NFP) on the XRB website.] If you have under $2,000,000 in annual expenses you are Tier 3 and must use the ‘Simple Format Report’ and accrual accounting [Look for PBE SFR-A (NFP) on the XRB website.] Tier 4 organisations can report using the Accrual standards if they so choose. (Please feel free to contact our consultant if you need assistance (for a modest fee) in this area.)
Show your registration number on all documents, especially those seeking funds (e.g. brochures, letterhead ). For example: NZ Registered Charity CC12345
The initial trustees/officers will be nominated as persons authorised to contact IRD to discuss tax matters if you have included them on your application. If you wish to add anyone else (e.g. an accountant etc) a letter on headed notepaper (if you have it) should be sent to your IRD office advising the addition. This must be signed by one of the nominated ‘agents’. It is advisable to send a letter to IRD advising changes to the trustees as they occur and advising that the new trustee has been approved as a person who may discuss the organisation’s tax matter with IRD.
If you are registered as a donee organisation with the IRD you may give receipts eligible for tax credits for donations you receive which are over $5. The receipt should show as a minimum: The name of the charity, CC number, the purpose for which received (eg DONATION) and signature of an authorised officer. You may wish to show other details including address or IRD number. A rubber stamp is useful for the purpose.
REGISTRAR OF INCORPORATED SOCIETIES www.societies.govt.nz
If a registered trust or an incorporated society you will have been registered with this organisation. It is not necessary to advise the Registrar of the names of officers as this is not now a legal requirement (and names can easily get out of date). However if you are a registered trust or an incorporated society any changes to your constitution/trust deed MUST be advised to, and approved by, the Registrar. (If you are also a registered charity then get the changes approved by the CS before forwarding to the Registrar.)
If you are an Incorporated Society that is NOT registered as a charity, then you must file an annual return with the Registrar (see the Registrar’s website)
If GST registered. Submit returns (every 2 or 6 months) as required by IRD
The Financial Year (FY) you have chosen will be stated in your deed/constitution. This is often 31 March.
You should aim to have your financial accounts with the auditor (or arrange for them to be checked per the deed) within a month of the end of the FY. Advise the auditor(s) of the planned date of the AGM and check that they can have the accounts audited by that date.
Within 3 months of the end of the FY (depending upon what is stated in the deed) the accounts must be accepted at an annual general meeting and signed by the chairman and treasurer (as well as the auditor(s))
Within 6 months of the end of the FY the Annual Return must be filed (doing this online saves $25!) with the CC (or Registrar of Incorporated Societies if not registered as a charity)
1 month after filing check that the Annual Return is shown on the CC or Registrar’s website.
THINGS YOU MUST (AS A MINIMUM) DO
Ensure that you issue a receipt for all donations. See information about receipts on the CS and IRD websites.
Hold regular Board meetings.
Keep minutes of all Board meetings – normally pasted into a book rather than kept in loose-leaf fashion, and signed/dated by the chairman of the meeting when they are approved.
Maintain an up to date Conflicts of Interest Register.
Ensure that a comprehensive financial report is provided by the Treasurer at each Board meeting and that statements etc are independently checked against the financial statements (this is as much for the benefit of the treasurer as for you. It is not an issue of trust!)
I recommend that at each AGM you do a ‘self assessment’ of your charitable status. Ask yourselves whether, in the year under consideration, you have operated strictly in accordance with the purposes stated in your ‘rules’, ask whether any private pecuniary benefit has been derived (i.e. apply the strict terms of charitable status to ensure you still comply). Assuming that you still meet the test (and if you have been operating honestly and properly in accordance with your rules you almost certainly will have done so) then propose and pass a motion to that effect and ensure it is minuted.