We are currently actively involved in several Hong kong charities, including:
- Asia Education Foundation Limited
- Asia Environmental Foundation Limited
- Village People Project Limited
- Barnard Club of HONGKONG Limited
- The Incorporated Trustees of the Wah Kiu Yat Po Fund for Relief of Underprivileged Children
We assisted in the formation of Asia Education Foundation Limited, Asia Environmental Foundation Limited, Village People Project Limited and Society for Children’s Welfare Limited and we provide ongoing secretarial services to these charities.
We also provide ongoing company secretarial services to Wah Kiu Yat Po Fund for Relief of Underprivileged Children.
If you would like to make donations to or become involved with these charities, please feel free to contact us and we will liaise with the relevant charities on your behalf.
Setting up a charity in Hong Kong
Company limited by guarantee
A non-profitable company or a charitable organisation in Hong Kong is usually established in the form of a company limited by guarantee. If the non-profitable company or charitable organisation satisfies the relevant charitable criteria established in Hong Kong, it will be, upon application, approved by the Inland Revenue Department (the “IRD”) as a “charity” under section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance pursuant to which it will be exempted from paying profits tax and it will also be exempted from obtaining a Business Registration Certificate.
A company limited by guarantee is a company formed without a share capital. Members of the company are liable, to the extent of their guarantees (usually a nominal sum), only if the company is wound up and a contribution is needed to enable its debts to be paid. Formation of a company limited by guarantee is similar to the formation of a company limited by shares. A company limited by guarantee can set out its objects and set up its membership system in its articles of association.
A company limited by guarantee is subject to the normal annual filing and auditing obligations, that is, it is required to hold annual general meeting, file an annual return and prepare audited accounts. When there is a change in the board of directors and secretary, it is also required to inform the Companies Registry and file the relevant forms.
To apply for tax exemption, the objects that are set out in the draft articles of association are required to satisfy the requirements in relation to a “charity”.
What is a charity?
For an institution or a trust to be a charity, it must be established for purposes which are exclusively charitable as defined in law and charitable activities in relation to the following will generally be approved by the IRD.
(a) relief of poverty;
(b) advancement of education;
(c) advancement of religion; and
(d) other purposes of a charitable nature beneficial to the community not falling under any of the preceding headings.
(For the purpose of obtaining profits tax exemption under Section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance only, while the purposes under the first three headings may apply to activities carried on in any part of the world, those under heading (d) will only be regarded as charitable if they are of benefit to the Hong Kong community (A Tax Guide for Charitable Institutions and Trusts of a Public Character).
Examples of purposes which the court had held to be charitable purposes include:-
(a) relief of poor people;
(b) relief of victims of a particular disaster;
(c) relief of sickness;
(d) relief of physically and mentally disabled;
(e) establishment or maintenance of non-profit-making schools;
(f) provision of scholarships;
(g) diffusion of knowledge of particular academic subjects;
(h) establishment or maintenance of a church;
(i) establishment of religious institutions of a public character;
(j) prevention of cruelty to animals;
(k) protection and safeguarding of the environment or countryside.
Examples of purposes which the courts had held to be non-charitable purposes include:-
(a) attainment of a political object;
(b) promotion of the benefits of the founders or subscribers;
(c) provision of a playing field, recreation ground or scholarship fund for employees of a particular company or industry;
(d) encouragement of a particular sport such as angling or cricket.
Charltons has experience of setting up a charity in Hong Kong and assisting Hong Kong charities with ongoing secretarial services. Charltons provides secretarial services to charities such as Asia Education Foundation and Asia Environmental Foundation.