About legal decisions made under the Charities Act 2005

In the course of our work we carefully consider all available information to ensure that each decision we make is a proper exercise of our powers and consistent with our statutory objectives. At times, these decisions are not favourable to entities, in that we may decline to register an entity, deregister an entity, or decline requests to restrict information from the public Charities Register. 

When we make decisions, we take a lot of trouble to ensure we get them right and that each decision is a proper exercise of our powers and consistent with our statutory objectives. 

Does Charities Services publish reasons for all decisions to decline applications or remove entities from the Charities Register?

No.  We only publish the decisions that are taken by the Charities Registration Board. 

The overwhelming majority of applications for registration received by Charities Services are finalised without proceeding to a formal Board decision. This includes applications that are approved and applications that are withdrawn or administratively declined after the applicant is sent a notice that its application does not meet registration requirements.

Further, most of the entities that are removed from the Charities Register are removed voluntarily (following a request from the entity) or administratively removed for failing to file an annual return as required by the Charities Act 2005.

What is the difference between an entity being declined registration, and being deregistered by Charities Services?

Application for registration declined

Organisations that apply to be registered, but have their application turned down. An organisation that is declined registration does not have any of its details shown on the Charities Register.

Organisation deregistered

Organisations that were registered under the Charities Act 2005, but were later removed from the Charities Register. In all cases, the Charities Register will show the date and reason that the charity was deregistered.

At what time are decisions published on Charities Service's website?

Charities Services will publish Board decisions on this website soon after a copy has been made available to the organisation concerned. We publish court judgments under the Charities Act 2005 as soon as possible after we receive them.

Why doesn't Charities Services simply "rubber stamp" every application made to it for charitable status?

To be registered (as well as remain qualified for registration and access the charitable tax exemption), an organisation must be — and remain — wholly and exclusively charitable, and meet all of the criteria set out in the Charities Act 2005.

This means that we must individually analyse every application for registration we receive, to be sure it complies with New Zealand law. We also monitor charities to be sure they remain qualified for registration and take steps to remove charities from the Charities Register if they don't remain qualified.

Does Charities Services make public comment on court judgments?

No. However, we may cite them in our information, or, where appropriate, refer to a judgment when explaining the principles of charities law that we apply when making our decisions.

Does Charities Services publish any other information about its regulatory activity?

Yes, if Charities Services is engaging in a project or review of a number of entities, it might publish a separate part of the website, or in the newsletter, or as a “Hot Topic”.

Charities Services also publishes information about completed investigations of wrongdoing and reviews of eligibility for registration. More information about these are in a blog on the subject.