Are you the trustee of a charitable trust or involved in the administration of a charitable organisation? If so, you should be aware that various sections of the Charities Act 2005 (the “Act”) have now come into force. One of the purposes of the Act is to provide for the registration of societies, institutions, and trustees of trusts as charitable entities. Registration Voluntary registration began on 1 February 2007. Organisations that currently have tax exempt status will need to be registered by 1 July 2008 to retain this status. Applications should be sent to the Charities Commission (the “Commission”) by 1 April 2008 to ensure that registration is complete by July 2008. When registering, each organisation must provide certain information including: • the sector the organisation operates in • the charitable purpose of the organisation • the benefactors of the organisation • the trustees or board members • the rules or trust deed of the organisation. Once registered as a charitable entity, there is an ongoing obligation to provide and update information on the register such as changes to the trustees, constitution, or trust deed or annual returns. For this reason, it will be advantageous for organisations to hold an annual general meeting in order to make such changes before lodging the application. Purpose of Registration Some of the information provided to the Commission will be accessible to the public. The reason for this is to enhance public confidence in the charitable sector. Following registration, the Commission will provide organisations with an identifying number which can be used to assure the public that the organisation is legitimate. This will be especially advantageous for organisations that carry out fundraising ventures.