Harneys helps BVI non-profits decipher new Non-Profit Organisations Act

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New NPO Act takes effect in British Virgin Islands on 1 January 2013

“We have compiled the guide in an effort to assist those in the non-profit sector understand their obligations under the law."

International law firm Harney Westwood & Riegels has prepared a free FAQ guide for Non-Profit Organisations (“NPOs”) which operate in the British Virgin Islands to assist them to interpret the Non-Profit Organisations Act which comes into force on 1 January 2013.

This new legislation seeks to provide a framework for regulating charities and other non-profit organisations which operate primarily in the Territory by putting in place measures designed to deter terrorist organisations from posing as legitimate NPOs or from using legitimate NPOs for terrorist purposes. The Non-Profit Organisations Act was passed as part of the wider fight against money-laundering and terrorist financing and to maintain the support of the international bodies which are crucial to the Territory’s offshore finance industry.

Sheila George, Managing Partner of Harneys BVI, commented that the guide was compiled by partners Colin Riegels and Leonard Birmingham in order to assist those who may not be familiar with the new Act to understand the requirements more fully. “We have compiled the guide in an effort to assist those in the non-profit sector understand their obligations under the law and as such to support these organisations in continuing to serve the BVI community,” George said.

The new legislation affects a wide spectrum of organisations many of which will not have had procedures in place to deal with compliance matters. All religious organisations including established churches along with all private schools and colleges will now be required to register as well as a number of service organisations such as Lion’s Club and Rotary clubs and any organisation which works for the public good such as sporting associations. NPOs have 90 days from 1 January 2013 in which to apply to register in accordance with the new law.

The law applies only to entities which operate primarily in the British Virgin Islands. It was passed by the House of Assembly on 11 October 2012 and published in the Gazette on 26 November 2012. His Excellency the Governor Boyd McCleary announced in the Gazette published on 27 December 2012 that it would come into effect on 1 January 2013.

Click here to download the FAQ guide. The Non-Profit Organisations Act is available here.

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Susanna Henighan Potter
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