A trust is an agreement between people (called trustees) to manage property over which they have control either to benefit other people (called beneficiaries) or for charitable purposes. A groups of trustees may be incorporated as a board under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957 if the objects are charitable.
Some common characteristics of trusts incorporated under the Charitable Trust Act 1957 are:
has a board of at least two trustees;
must have charitable purposes;
has its trustees make the major decisions;
is set up under a trust deed which outlines how it operates;
often has more limited community or member involvement than incorporated societies;
its assets can be used to meet its debts, but if it is incorporated and trustees have acted responsibly, they are unlikely to be personally liable;
Trustees are generally not accountable in specific ways unless the deed specifically set these out;
it can be legally wound up at any time, unless a specific term for its existence has been stipulated in the trust deed (more common in private Trusts);
it needs to be registered separately with the IRD to be exempt from payment of tax.
List of documents required to register a charitable trust
1. Original Trust Deed or a certified copy.
2. Application for Incorporation of Trustees as a Board The application must be signed by the majority of trustees.
3. Statutory Declaration. The statutory declaration states: whether any Trustees hold any property as trustees for other trusts; that at a meeting of the Trust a resolution was passed approving incorporation; and that the person making the Declaration has been approved by the Trustees to make it.
4. You also need to provide the Companies Office with a registered office. Your registered address must be a street address. A postal address may be provided in addition to this.
Steps to registering a charitable trust
As outlined below in the Flow-chart of steps to registering a charitable trust, once you have decided to set up a charitable trust you need to:
1. Develop a set of rules. The Charitable Trust sample rules and guide in the Template section of this How-to Guide give a useful example of trust deed clauses and what they mean.
2. Complete the other documentation listed below. These can be printed off and completed by hand.
3. Obtain approval for the deed as outlined in the following flow-chart.