The Isle of Man government closed its consultation for a new Charities Registration and Regulation Bill at the start of October, and the results can now be expected at the start of November.
The purpose of the Bill is to bring Manx law's definition of what is charitable and its system of regulating charities more in line with the approach taken in England and Wales following the Charities Act 2011.
In particular, we note the following proposed changes which mirror the development of the law and the Charity Commission's role in England and Wales:
Incorporating statutory heads of charitable purpose to run parallel with those introduced by the Charities Act 2011 therefore updating the meaning of ‘charity’ on the Island so that it remains at least as broad as in England and Wales
Bolstering the role of the Attorney General in the Isle of Man by combining the functions of registrar and regulator in HM Attorney General, again mirroring the Charity Commission in England and Wales
Establishing a modern register of charities operating in the Isle of Man and a register of charity mergers to simplify the treatment of legacies and donations made to charities
Charities registered in England and Wales should also note the proposals in the Bill for 'foreign charities' which are established elsewhere than on the Island but registered in the Isle of Man.
These 'foreign charities' would need to appoint a 'responsible person' who is resident in the Isle of Man to 'retain all books, records and documents of the charity which relate in the Island' and file accounts of its activities in the Isle of Man with the registrar.
We recommend that charities registered in England and Wales and the Isle of Man 'watch this space' to see whether they need to identify and appoint such a 'responsible person' in the Isle of Man and make additional any administrative filings for the updated charity register.