Guidance on legal tests for what is a charity

Guidance Note: What Makes an Organisation a Charity in Law?

CO.CHA.21

This Guidance Note: What Makes an Organisation a Charity in Law is a preliminary overview of the legal nature of a charity. It is intended for use by those planning to found a new charity.

It explains briefly the legal tests - the “charitable purposes” and “public benefit” tests - that must be passed by an organisation for it to be considered to be a charity under the law of England & Wales. In particular, it explains what is meant by “charitable purposes” and “public benefit” in law.

The Guidance also touches on the advantages of being a charity, stating and carrying out a charity’s charitable objects, and trustees’ reporting of public benefit.

Further guidance is available on the subject on the Charity Commission’s website.

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