Charities urged to play by the rulesThursday, December 10, 2015
ST JAMES. Jamaica (JIS) – State Minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams is urging charities to continue to “play by the rules” in order to reap the many and varied benefits that the Government has put in place for them.
She made the call as she addressed an Educonference staged by the Department of Cooperatives and Friendly Societies at the Western offices of the Office of the Prime Minister in Montego Bay, St James, on Tuesday.
Ffolkes Abrahams noted that under new legislative measures, charities now have to register to continue to receive benefits, such as the tax incentives that they have enjoyed for many years.
“We want to ensure, of course, that (the benefits are) used in the right way. I know that you, who are here today, are legitimate charities that have been operating for a number of years and without your charitable acts and your charitable works, Jamaica would not be where it is today,” she said.
The State minister also commended members of the Jamaican Diaspora and the churches that have contributed to the country’s development.
“We know that throughout the Diaspora many have contributed to education. The church has done much for Jamaica over the centuries…” she noted.
The Educonference was aimed at sensitising members of Cooperatives and Friendly Societies about the new legislation in place to ensure that they are properly registered and that they understand how to access the benefits that are available.
Under legislation passed in 2013, all charities are required to be registered/re-registered with the Department of Cooperatives and Friendly Societies.
The aim is to establish a transparent and coherent regime to govern all tax incentives. As a result, new and existing charities are required to complete an application form, which can be accessed on the DCFS' website. Charities are also required to submit their articles of cooperation, constitution or rules, depending on the type of society, as well as their financial statements.
Newly registered charities are required to submit audited financial statements within a year of operating as a registered charity, while existing charities are expected to submit theirs, along with registration form and other documents, and their financial records for the previous year.
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