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Charities and non-profit organisations: GST advice

Charities and some non-profit organisations (NPOs) can claim GST refunds on the goods and services they buy or import.

Charities

A charity:

  • cannot register for GST
  • does not have to charge GST on the goods and services it sells, and on other fundraising activities
  • must pay GST on its purchases and business expenses at the time of purchase, but can claim refunds

The supply of any service or goods by a charity is exempt from GST, but you must first be confirmed as a charity by Customs.

How does my organisation become confirmed as a charity for GST?

We work to the definition of a charity as a body established for a charitable purpose only.

Charitable purpose includes:

  • the advancement of education
  • the relief of poverty
  • the furtherance of religion
  • a purpose beneficial to the whole community
  • the service of a church, chapel or any building used only for divine worship

We also consider a charity to be a corporation, association, or trust whose property income is exempt from income tax under Article 115(a), (aa), or (ab) of the Income Tax (Jersey) Law 1961.

To use the scheme, you will need to send evidence that your organisation satisfies these conditions to the GST Helpdesk. If you qualify, we will send you a letter of confirmation.

Article 115 of the Income Tax (Jersey) Law 1961 on Jersey Law website

Which purchases and expenses can I claim a refund on?

Purchase and expenses qualifying for a GST refund must:

  • have been supplied directly to the charity itself (not, for example, to a person who donates goods or services to the charity)
  • have been paid for by the charity
  • be directly for the administration or charitable activities of the charity (as defined in its articles, constitution, endowment or similar document)
  • have been paid at the time of the claim for refund

Details of goods that can be imported by charities and NPOs are available on GST Direction 2008/11

Download GST direction 2008/11 (size 20kb)

What do I need to claim a GST refund?

Once confirmed as a charity, you can claim a GST refund if:

  • you have a record of the sale, purchase or importation, and the GST paid
  • you have actually paid the GST
  • you apply within the time limits
  • you apply using the approved application form

You must make your refund claim online or on the form we give you, which shows:

  • the name and address of your charity
  • the amount of GST claimed for that period
  • a signed and dated declaration by an authorised officer of your charity that the goods and services were for the charitable purposes of the charity only

You don't need to itemise your sales or purchases on the claim form, just enter the total amount of GST for the period of the claim.

See Regulation 28 of the GST regulations 2007 for more information.

GST Regulation 28 on Jersey Law website
GST refund claim on Jersey Tax website

How often can my charity claim?

The amount you are claiming will determine how often you can claim:

Claim total How often you can claim
Less than £1000 quarterly intervals
£1,000 or more six-monthly intervals
£5,000 or more annually

We may consider more frequent repayments if your charitable organisation can show that you will experience cash-flow problems from not being able to make claims more frequently.

We will make repayments within 30 days of receiving a correct claim.

How long must I keep my records for?

You must keep receipts for purchases and other business records that prove the accuracy of your claims for six years from the date to which they relate.

We may audit your records from time to time and will disallow any inaccurate or unsubstantiated claims. We may take stronger action if you deliberately mislead us.

Non-profit organisations

GST is chargeable on supplies of goods or services by, or to, a non-profit organisation.

However, a relief is granted where an NPO doesn't have to charge GST on the goods and services it supplies if it is:

  1. established only for artistic or cultural objectives
  2. financially supported wholly or mainly by the States of Jersey

These supplies are zero-rated for GST and to qualify, your NPO must apply in writing to the GST team.

See GST direction 2008/12 for more information.

Download GST direction 2008/12 (size 29kb)

GST on imports

Charities and NPOs don't have to pay GST on imports that are related to their charitable, artistic or cultural objectives.

To qualify for GST-free imports, you must:

  • apply in writing to the GST team and receive written confirmation that your organisation qualifies
  • create an account with Customs as a GST-approved trader

Legislation

The following GST legislation governs charities and non-profit organisations:

  • Schedule 5, Group 5 of the GST law 2007
  • Regulation 28 of the GST regulations 2007

Goods and Services Tax (Jersey) Law 2007 on Jersey Law website
Goods and Services Tax (Jersey) Regulations 2007 on Jersey Law website



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