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Non-Profits: Register or Face Penalties

Attention all charities! Have you submitted your NPO application yet? To make sure you’re in compliance with the law, submit your paperwork by Tuesday, 31 July — and as a thank you, Government will waive the $300 application fee!

The goal for most charitable organisations in the Cayman Islands is to make life better and more enjoyable for all.

These charities also have a legal obligation to register with the Cayman Islands Government as Non-Profit Organisations, or NPOs.

Since August 2017, mandatory registration has been in effect for organisations that meet the legal definition of an NPO.

As of 13 July 2018, there were 177 registered entities which included churches/religious organisations, sports organisations, philanthropic organisations and professional associations. Another 150 applications are pending. Persons can see which NPOs are registered by viewing the public NPO register, available at www.ciregistry.gov.ky. The register is updated monthly.

It’s estimated that there are more than 300 NPOs currently operating in the Cayman Islands, so these numbers are encouraging. However, Government reminds charitable organisations that they will face penalties if they miss the 31 July legal deadline to file their NPO applications.

Under the NPO law, penalties for non-compliance will be enforced as of 1 August 2018.

For companies currently registered under section 80 of The Companies Law, which meet the NPO definition but are not registered, they will be struck off the Companies Register. Their assets would be vested in the Crown, as per The Companies Law.

Unregistered NPOs also face a $500 penalty for noncompliance, plus

$10 for every day beyond 1 August 2018 that they fail to apply for registration (up to a maximum fine of $3,000). Furthermore, Government can refuse to fund unregistered NPOs. Additional criminal sanctions may also apply.

Those penalties reflect the importance of registration. Remember that the NPO Law benefits members of the public who support NPOs, and the NPOs themselves, while helping Cayman participate in the global fight against terrorist financing.

For example, consider the NPO certificates of registration, which the Registrar of NPOs issues to NPOs upon registration.

These certificates can help the public identify reputable charities. Plus, the NPOs themselves can better encourage donations from persons and entities from overseas, as donors can use the certificate to prove their charitable donations for tax purposes.

Furthermore, the Cayman Islands benefit from an enhanced reputation, because registered NPOs are upholding a law that helps protect us, and the local and international communities, against misuse such as terrorist financing.

So...have you registered your NPO? Time is running out! Unregistered NPOs can apply on the Cayman Business Portal, at www.cbp.ky. The process is simple — and as a bonus, applications are free until 31 July. They’ll cost $300 per application afterward.

If an NPO wants face-to-face assistance with completing and submitting their application, registration sessions are held every Tuesday and Thursday, from 5pm to 7:30pm, at General Registry, on the ground floor of the Government Administration Building.

The sessions are on an appointment basis, and expected to continue until 31 July. Once General Registry processes and approves the documentation, applicants will be notified of their successful filing and a NPO certificate of registration will be issued.

 

For more information on NPOs, please contact General Registry by emailing paul.inniss@gov.ky.

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