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Registered Charities

Organisational structure

This section provides information to help you understand the different legal structures available to groups wishing to create a new Charity, run or wind up a charity.

This can assist your Charity by:

Guidance is helpful before starting to investigate the intricacies of legal structures. The following resources provide information to help you understand what you're looking for, and why.

Characteristics

The CommunityNet's resource kit provides a table of characteristics found under the various types of legal structures to give you an overview of the sector.

Formal Structures

Before you decide on a structure, read the information sheet on formal organisations provided by the CommunityNet's resource kit which covers reasons and benefits to setting up these types of structures.

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What types of charitable trust are there and how do we set one up?

A Charitable Trust is one of the main legal structures of Charities in New Zealand. The following resources provide more information about Charitable Trusts and the benefits to choosing this structure.

Characteristics

The CommunityNet's resource kit provides a table of characteristics found under the various types of legal structures to give you an overview of the sector.

Types

The CommunityNet's resource kit, Charitable trusts information sheet points out the types of trusts, their purpose and provides a rules checklist to get you started.

Registration Steps

This step by step guide provided by CommunityNet shows the process for setting up a registered charitable trust and lists the documents you will need during the process.

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What's the difference between a charitable trust (or incorporated society or company) and being registered as a charity with the Charities Commission?

Being incorporated as a charitable trust (or an incorporated society or a company) is often referred to as "being registered with the Companies Office". It is not the same as being registered with the Charities Commission. The commonly used terminology is similar and can be confusing but the relevant legislation is different and has different purposes.

The Charitable Trusts Act, the Incorporated Societies Act and the Companies Act set up organisations as legal entities, which (amongst other things) regulates their size, decision-making, liability and accountability, and the use of any profits.

A legal entity can make decisions (such as entering into contracts, or buying or selling property) as though it were a "person". There is more about charitable trusts, incorporated societies and companies in the Companies Office information sheet.

On the other hand, being registered with the Charities Commission (under the Charities Act) gives an organisation status as a registered charitable entity. It does not make it a legal entity or change its legal entity status (if it has one). The benefits of registration with the Charities Commission include eligibility for inclusion on the Charities Register and eligibility for charitable tax exemptions.

As mentioned above, the Charities Act does not change an organisation's legal status, so organisations on the Charities Register that are also registered with the Companies Office still need to comply with the relevant Act if they wish to keep their legal status.

Registration with us is voluntary and we accept applications from any organisation that complies with the requirements of the Charities Act. They don't have to have a legal status but many do.

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What is the process for setting up and running an incorporated society?

An Incorporated Society is a democratic, membership-based organisation structure. The following resources provide more information to help you understand more.

Characteristics

The CommunityNet's resource kit provides a table of characteristics found under the various types of legal structures to give you an overview of the sector.

Rules

The rules or constitution of an organisation is the most important document. This CommunityNet   factsheet on Incorporated societies (PDF) provides a list of coomon rules and why you should use them.

Set up process

CommunityNet resource kit has published an   8 step flowchart (PDF) that will help you with the process for setting up an incorporated society.

Good practice

This Hutt City Council webpage was developed to assist and support the effective management of your community group. Facts, legal requirements and document templates are some resources in the Good Practice Guidelines.

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What are unincorporated groups and what is the advantage of this structure?

Many groups are informal to begin with, and may prefer to have no particular legal status under an unincorporated group. The following resources provide information about unincorporated groups.

Key Features

The CommunityNet's resource kit provides key features about unincorporated groups, rules and processes and the limitations of this structure.

Formal Structures

Before you decide on a structure, read the information sheet on formal organisations provided by the CommunityNet's resource kit which covers reasons and benefits to setting up these types of structures.

Umbrella groups

If you wish to avoid the costs and responsibilities of becoming incorporated, this CommunityNet   information sheet on umbrella groups (PDF) will give you a brief introduction and things to consider.

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