Charities urged to register by July deadline

The government is urging non-profit organizations to file their registration applications by June 15 in an effort to minimize issues caused by missing the deadline.

Applicants must file by July 31, and officials say that applying by June 15 will allow applicants to be processed in time. A $300 registration fee will be waived for organizations that apply by June 15.

Applications can be completed and filed via the Cayman Business Portal, which is a system set up by the General Registry to allow online registry for local businesses. The development of the portal allows entities to conduct business with the registry from any location at any time.

The registration of non-profits is required following the passage of the Non-Profit Organisations Law in 2016.

There is an existing registry of non-profit organizations, which is publicly available for people to identify registered charitable endeavors. The legal requirement for registration of non-profit organizations aligns Cayman with global regulatory standards that recognize that charities can be used for financial crimes, the government press release states.

For companies that are currently registered under section 80 of The Companies Law and meet the definition of non-profit organization, they must re-register by July 31. If they don’t, they will be stricken from the Companies Register and their assets would be vested in the Crown, as per The Companies Law.

Charities that do not register and continue to operate as a non-profit organization after the July 31 deadline will face stiff financial penalties. There will be a $500 penalty for non-compliance, plus $10 for every day beyond Aug. 1 that they fail to apply for registration, with a maximum fee capped at $2,500.

Additional criminal sanctions may apply to entities continuing to operate past the deadline without registering.

Organizations are deemed to be non-profit “if they are a company or body of people, whether incorporated or unincorporated, or a trust, that is established, or which identifies itself, as established primarily for the promotion of charitable, philanthropic, religious, cultural, educational, social or fraternal objectives, or other activities or programs for the public benefit or a section of the public within the Islands or elsewhere; and which solicits contributions from the public or a section of the public within the Islands or elsewhere.”

Paul Inniss, head of compliance at the General Registry, can be contacted for more information on non-profit organizations.