SINGAPORE - The Commissioner of Charities (COC) in its latest annual report released on Wednesday highlighted that the total tax deductible donations to charities exceeded $1 billion in 2012.
This is a 12% increase from the total donations of $896 million to local Institutions of a Public Character (IPCs) in 2011, which was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam during the Budget Debate 2013. It was also the highest amount received in the last 10 years.
The increased generosity was attributed to the higher contributions made to the charity sector by corporations and members of public in 2012. Corporate and individual donations rose 16 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.
Also announced in the report were more measures that are now in place to better manage the conduct of commercial and third-party fund-raisers and commercial participators via the Charities (Fund-raising Appeals for Local and Foreign Charitable Purposes) Regulations.
Now, commercial fund-raisers or participators will not be allowed to use terms such as “charitable organisation” to represent themselves, as the latter specifically refers only to charities that are set up exclusively for charitable objects.
Other key changes include:
1) Require commercial fund-raisers and participators to have a written agreement with their beneficiary charity on the fund-raiser’s remuneration and the timeframe within which the proceeds must be transferred to the charity;
2) Require a commercial fund-raiser or participator to state its identity as a commercial entity and;
3) To clearly indicate in its solicitation materials (e.g. brochures and websites) the proportion of the proceeds raised that will be for charitable purposes.
The COC’s Office has also amended the Charities (Accounts and Annual Report) Regulations to require externally audited charities to post a summary of their financial information on the Charity Portal for increased financial transparency of the charity sector.
Charities, IPCs and the public will also be able to access information on Singapore's charity sector via the Charity Portal at http://www.charities.gov.sg.