The various types of nonprofits in Fiji have contributed to improving the lives of its citizens. These organizations are known for their long-term support of education. Also, some of these nonprofits have established schools across the country. Every year, thousands of Fijians enroll in and graduate from primary and secondary institutions. Thanks in part to the work of community-run schools and faith-based organizations.
Also, nonprofits in the country are at the forefront of climate action and reduced inequalities. NGOs are also known to support peace, justice, and strong institutions among others.
In this article, we will consider the various types of nonprofits in Fiji and their functions.
- Fiji has long had a robust civil society, mostly among religious nonprofits
- Nonprofits are known for their remarkable participation and contribution to the country’s education sector
- The majority of services for the poor and disabled are managed by nonprofits.
What are the types of nonprofits in Fiji?
Fiji acquired its common law judicial system from Great Britain when it gained independence. Even so, the Charitable Trusts Act which is one of the types of nonprofits is one of many laws from Fiji’s Colonial era. It also continues to remain in effect.
We will look at the two best legal procedures for forming (incorporating) a non-profit organization in Fiji.
1. Charitable Trusts
These types of nonprofits must be registered in conformity with the Charitable Trusts Act to be incorporated. Hence, the first stage is to confirm that the trust’s stated goals align with one of the purposes listed in the Charitable Trusts Act. They include; religion, education, science, acts of charity, etc.
Likewise, there are several activities included in the definition of a charitable purpose. This includes meeting the physical needs of the sick, elderly, destitute, poor, or helpless; paying for the funeral costs of the poor. Others include educating the children of the poor; reforming criminals, prostitutes, or drunkards; or hiring and caring for ex-offenders.
A charitable trust is considered to be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal. As a result, it can hold real or personal property and can sue or be sued in all proceedings, whether civil or criminal. All these are set in place once it has been registered by the Act and is given a certificate of incorporation.
2. Company Limited by Guarantee
One of the many components of Fiji’s more recent Companies Act 2015 is the ability to register companies limited by guarantee. These types of nonprofits are required to submit a request to the Registrar of Companies Office to reserve the preferred company name. Correspondingly, this should take place before applying for registration of a company limited by guarantee.
In general, members of a company limited by guarantee are required to make a small financial contribution. This is toward the business’s debts in the case of the company’s dissolution (winding up).
Also, it’s crucial to remember that a company limited by guarantee is required to have a minimum of three directors. Two of the members must reside in Fiji. In other words, they have to be there for six out of the previous twelve months when the application was submitted.
Are the types of nonprofits in Fiji exempted from taxes?
An organization is immediately exempt from paying income tax if it has been registered by its members under the Charitable Trusts Act or any other Act. Also, due to the nature of their operations, funds from the various types of nonprofits are typically excluded from income tax. However, this is only applicable if none of the members, proprietors, or shareholders distributes any profits from such a business for their personal gain.
An application in writing must be submitted to the Chief Executive Officer. This is required to be eligible for an income tax exemption. Meanwhile, in the event of new charity organizations that are yet to be registered with FRCS, the application must be filed along with the taxpayer registration form.
By and large, all required information on the creation of the organization must be submitted. This should be according to the directions for completing the registration form.
The Chief Executive Officer will be allowed to decide whether or not the organization’s income would be liable to income tax. This will be based on the provisions of the Articles of Association, Memorandum of Association, or Trust objectives.
Fiji has long had a robust civil society. This is mostly among religious nonprofits that provide numerous social assistance programs. Above all, nonprofits are known for their remarkable participation and contribution to the country’s education sector. For the most part, the majority of services for the poor and disabled are managed by nonprofits.
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