Debunking deregistration myths with data

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Posted on 30 January2017

We often see and hear comments about the number of charities that have been deregistered. These frequently have observations that we have been unduly harsh in removing too many charities from the register. 

Here, I take a look at the Charities Register (the Register) and the number of registrations and deregistrations since the Register was established in 2007. I am using information about registered and deregistered charities that is searchable on the public Charities Register (external link) . Only some information is withheld for public interest reasons. In this and upcoming blogs, I want to show you what sort of information is held on the Register and how to find information relevant to you.

How many registrations does Charities Services complete?

Between 2007 and 2009, around 20,000 charities were granted registration. The number of charities on the Register has remained fairly stable from 2011 onwards with over 1,000 applications received each year.   Almost 90% of applicants will be registered, usually after making a few minor changes to their application.  The current number of registered charities is just over 27,900.

How many applications for registration are declined?

Since 2012, between 161 and 322 applications for registration have been declined every year. Of these applications, 95% were declined because the applicant did not respond (or request an extension to respond) to Charities Services’ requests for further information or submissions required to progress the application.  Further information on the Charities Registration Board’s decisions can be found in the blog How the Charities Registration Board makes decisions. (external link)

What are the reasons charities have been deregistered? 

The Charities Act 2005 provides six reasons for removal, however, there are only four reasons for deregistration that have been used to remove a charity which are shown in the graph below.

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For years ending 31 March

Almost 43% of all removals are because charities have asked to be removed. Registration as a charity is voluntary; therefore charities can decide to remove themselves for various reasons. For example: a charity may wish to deregister because they have merged with another charity, because they have completed the purpose they were set up for, or because they have run out of money. 

The number of charities deregistered for serious wrongdoing and for no longer qualifying has always been relatively low. You can view most of these decisions on the Charities Services website.

Over 95% of all non-voluntary deregistrations are the result of the charity failing to meet its duty to file an Annual Return

The Charities Act 2005 requires all charities registered with us to file an Annual Return within 6 months of their balance date (financial year end).

We consider financial reporting is one of the most important duties a charity has, and we treat it seriously. Financial reporting enables charities to communicate how they are advancing their purposes to the public, and is how we monitor charities to ensure they continue to meet the requirements of registration.

Rest assured we send out reminders when the Annual Return is due and follow up again once the charity is overdue. Making sure your charity’s primary contact details are up to date is a simple way to make sure you don’t miss out on important information. 

For more information on deregistration and registration statistics, you can use our advanced search function on the Register. For example, you can use the function to search why charities have been deregistered.

Go to https://www.register.charities.govt.nz/AdvancedSearch (external link) and go to “Charity Search” and fill in the following fields:

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We understand the Advanced search function on the Register can be difficult to use and we are working on improving its functionality, but in the meantime keep an eye out for further blog posts on how to use the Advanced Search function to make sense of the information held in the Register, and to help you find what you’re looking for.

Ka kite ano 

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