ICS TRUST Report : New Charities Law in Hong Kong – How to Prepare for the Changes

In June 2011, The Law Reform Commission of Hong Kong recommended that a Charities Commission be created to register, monitor and regulate charitable organisations in Hong Kong in order to increase public trust and promote good governance within charities. The Commission recently completed a public consultation phase and will be followed by a drafting and legislative consultation stage.

If you are a charity operating in Hong Kong or an overseas charity planning to set up operations in Hong Kong, or if you plan to help support Asian philanthropic needs, what are your options? And how will these potential new laws affect you?

Unlike other common law jurisdictions, Hong Kong does not have a unified and comprehensive system to register, supervise, regulate and enforce penalties on charities, nor are there any statutory charity laws. In fact, there exists no clear definition of what even constitutes a “charity”.

Currently, Hong Kong’s Inland Revenue Department (IRD) fills the void and is the default government body responsible for regulating charities and social enterprises. It has the power to grant tax-free status to eligible organisations through an approval process in addition to being responsible for a wide range of duties with regard to the oversight of charity status, charitable objectives and tracking the use of charitable donations… to read the full report and newletter please click here.

 

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