Charities Act

(Original Enactment: Act 22 of 1994)

(31st October 2007)
An Act to make provision for the registration of charities, the administration of charities and their affairs, the regulation of charities and institutions of a public character, the regulation of fund-raising activities carried on in connection with charities and other institutions and the conduct of fund-raising appeals, and for purposes connected therewith.
[1st January 1995]
Short title and commencement
1.—(1)  This Act may be cited as the Charities Act and shall come into operation on such date as the Minister may, by notification in the Gazette, appoint.
(2)  The Minister may appoint different dates for the coming into operation of the different provisions of this Act.
2.—(1)  In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires —
“charitable company” means a charity which is a company or other body corporate;
“charitable purposes” means purposes which are exclusively charitable according to the law of Singapore;
“charity” means any institution, corporate or not, which is established for charitable purposes and is subject to the control of the High Court in exercise of the Court’s jurisdiction with respect to charities;
[Deleted by Act 34 of 2010 wef 01/03/2011]
“Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Charities appointed under section 3;
“company” means a company incorporated or registered under any law in force in Singapore or elsewhere;
“Council” means the Charity Council established under section 4A;
“document” includes information recorded in any form, and, in relation to information recorded otherwise than in legible form —
(a)any reference to its production shall be construed as a reference to the furnishing of a copy of it in legible form; and
(b)any reference to the furnishing of a copy of, or extract from, it shall accordingly be construed as a reference to the furnishing of a copy of, or extract from, it in legible form;
“electronic record” has the same meaning as in the Electronic Transactions Act (Cap. 88);
[Act 2 of 2018 wef 01/04/2018]
“exempt charity” means a charity specified in the Schedule;
“financial year”  —
(a)in relation to a charity which is a company, shall be construed in accordance with the Companies Act (Cap. 50); and
(b)in relation to any other charity, shall be construed in accordance with regulations made under section 13(1);
[34/2010 wef 01/03/2011]
“governing board members” means members of the governing body of a charity or trustees for a charity having the general control and management of the administration of the charity;
[34/2010 wef 01/03/2011]
“governing instruments”, in relation to a charity, means the provisions establishing it as a charity and regulating its purposes and administration, whether or not those provisions take effect by way of trust or are set out in any document, and in relation to other institutions has a corresponding meaning;
[34/2010 wef 01/03/2011]
“gross income”, in relation to a charity, means its gross recorded receipts from all sources;
“institution” includes any trust or undertaking;
“key officer”, in relation to —
(a)a charity;
(b)a person that is a governing board member of a charity; or
(c)a person that is a member of a charity,
means an individual who, whether or not an employee of the charity or person (as the case may be) and by whatever name called, and whether acting alone or together with any other person —
(i)has general control and management of all or any aspect (including the financial aspect) of the administration of the charity or person; or
(ii)provides advice to the charity or person on the control and management mentioned in paragraph (i), other than as a professional engaged or retained pursuant to a contract for service to provide such advice in that professional capacity;
[Act 2 of 2018 wef 01/04/2018]
“public accountant” means a person who is registered or deemed to be registered under the Accountants Act (Cap. 2) as a public accountant;
[34/2010 wef 01/03/2011]
“public authority” means —
(a)an Organ of State or a public officer of the Organ of State;
(b)a ministry or department of the Government or a public officer of the ministry or department; or
(c)a public authority established by or under any public Act for a public purpose or an officer or an employee of the public authority;
[Act 2 of 2018 wef 01/04/2018]
“trustee” has the same meaning as in the Trustees Act (Cap. 337).
[34/2010 wef 01/03/2011]
(2)  References in this Act to a charity whose income from all sources does not in aggregate amount to more than a specified amount shall be construed —
(a)by reference to the gross receipts of the charity; or
(b)if the Commissioner so determines, by reference to the amount which he estimates to be the likely amount of those receipts,
but without (in either case) bringing into account anything for the annual value of land occupied by the charity apart from the pecuniary income (if any) received from that land; and any question as to the application of any such reference to a charity shall be determined by the Commissioner, whose decision shall be final.
(3)  The Commissioner may direct that, for all or any of the purposes of this Act, an institution established for any special purposes of or in connection with a charity (being charitable purposes) shall be treated as forming part of that charity or as forming a distinct charity.
[Charities Act 1985 Ed., s. 2]
(4)  In this Act, a person’s conviction is treated as spent —
(a)if the criminal record under the Registration of Criminals Act (Cap. 268) of the person’s conviction becomes spent under Part IIA of that Act;
(b)if the person has received a free pardon for the offence; or
(c)in the case of a conviction by a court of a country or territory outside Singapore, if circumstances in that country or territory similar to paragraph (a) or (b) occur.
[Act 2 of 2018 wef 01/04/2018]