It took way longer than anyone thought it would – but charity-IT is now a charitable trust!
When it was first formed, charity-IT was registered as an incorporated society. Which, if you know anything about how the current legislation governing incorporated societies, is *fine*, but not the ideal set-up for the future. So we decided to do a legal makeover, namely, convert to a Charitable Trust! Which I plan to tell you all about. But first, I want to do a short side-note to give you a flavour of the complexity of this whole exercise:
The following is non-exhaustive list of unique ‘types’ of trusts you can be at any one time: a Trust; a Charitable Trust; a Registered Charitable Trust; an Incorporated Registered Charitable Trust; an Incorporated Charitable Trust; an Incorporated Trust; a Charity; a Registered Charity.
It is possible that the only item on that list that isn’t actually a legal thing is “a charity” (you will pretty much always be one of the others in the list but likely call yourself a charity because “incorporated registered charitable trust” just doesn’t have the same ring). All of those on the list have *ever so slightly* different rules for tax, formation, legal standing and processes for how you make them.
We decided on becoming a Incorporated Registered Charitable Trust (many reasons for that – I won’t bore you with the details) and here’s what our legal makeover involved:
- Dissolve the incorporated society:
In order to use the original name, you actually have to ‘end’ the incorporated society as an ‘entity.’ And to do this you need almost all the original signatories to the society to approve the dissolution at a Extraordinary General Meeting (isn’t that just a freaking great name for a meeting?!) Tracking down, and securing the support of the original signatories after several years of people apparently deciding that living anywhere was better than living in Welly-Town was surprisingly hard, but we got that done!
- Write a trust deed:
We are pretty gosh-darn proud of the document we ended up with (you can read it in its multi-part glory here) but again, was much harder than any of us thought it would be. Legal waffle is complicated. No wonder lawyers are always quitting their jobs to become yoga teachers! But again, we got it done, and I don’t mean to brag, but our final document even has a styled working nested list (which if you have ever tried to create in word – you will know that this is perhaps the biggest achievement of the entire exercise).
- Execute the deed:
This is the official act of signing the deed. There were pens used and high-fives after the event.
- Apply for Registered Charity Status:
Now, Registering for charitable status is a pretty big deal – it means that you get put on the Charities Register (yay!), any donations are tax exempt (yay!), we can officially use the word donations in our materials (yay!) and it means we have met the New Zealand charity standard (yay!). It also means we are legit. Like as legit as Red Cross. We received approval for our application for Registered Charitable status on 23rd June 2016. – So now we are a Registered Charitable Trust. What is next?
- Incorporate the Board:
We are in the process of the final step. In order to make charity-IT set up for the long term, we are applying to incorporate the trustees of charity-IT into a board. This is like the super-power step. Once we are incorporated, charity-IT is actually an entity. By that I mean, charity-IT can have a bank account, own property and survive beyond the original trustees.
The legal rigmarole is almost over. Long journey – but just the beginning for us 🙂 We are so offical it almost hurts.
#success #deedsarehardertowritethanyouwouldthink #signingdocumentsisprettyfun