Charity is the voluntary provision of assistance to those in need. There are various forms of charitable work and ways of providing assistance. Some people choose to provide help and support directly to those who need it. Others choose to donate money to national and international charities. In Belarus, there are a large number of organizations engaged in such activities. First of all, their existence is based on the humanitarian potential of society, civic responsibility. More and more people are consciously involved in volunteer activities. The number of social projects from business and the population is increasing.
Charity is a system of giving money, food, or help to those who are in need. The term refers specifically to voluntary assistance. Charitable organizations and institutions began to do the work of helping the poor, and these organizations provide a systematic financial donations today. Such institutions allow those people whose employment does not allow directly helping others, but who have the desire and resources for this, to indirectly carry out charitable activities through specialized organizations. Institutions can also more effectively separate the people in need from the scammers.
Most forms of charity involve the provision of basic necessities such as food, water, clothing, medical care and shelter, but other activities can also be carried out as charity: visiting prisoners or homeless people, educating orphans, and so on.
There are two types of financial assistance: direct and through funds. In the first option, there is no intermediary. The downside of this type is that it is difficult to track where the money will go, and this is sometimes used by scammers. The second option is a charitable foundation, which acts as an intermediary and independently sends contributions to the required addresses.
In Belarus, there are several ways of transferring money, property, work, services to the property without compensation by way of their alienation. These are donations, gratuitous (sponsorship) assistance, transfer of property between government agencies.
The key difference between sponsorship and donation is the purpose of its provision. Sponsorship is provided for specific purposes, while donation is for general use. In addition, citizens cannot provide sponsorship, while they can donate. Sponsorship may be provided to commercial organizations, and donations to commercial organizations are not permitted.
Commercial organizations can provide gratuitous (sponsored) assistance only for purposes specified by law. Assistance for purposes not provided for by law can be provided only with the permission of the President. Assistance can be provided in the form of funds, including in foreign currency, goods (property), works, services. In this case, the corresponding agreement is drawn up.
Non-profit organizations are organizations that people usually think of when they hear the word charity. The missions of these non-profit organizations range from helping the poor to easing social tensions, promoting education or science. Charitable organizations in Belarus are non-profit, that is, their activities are not aimed at making a profit for the participants. The work is based on voluntary contributions. These organizations allow people to indirectly carry out charitable activities through them. There is a gap in the legal regulation of the status of subjects of charitable activity. Their activities are regulated only by the Civil Code and the relevant normative legal acts regulating the procedure for registration and liquidation of the corresponding form of non-profit organizations.
An individual has the right, at his own discretion, to alienate his property into the ownership of other people. Donations in the form of things are allowed in relation to certain budgetary organizations for generally useful purposes. Such organizations include educational, health care, social services and cultural institutions. In addition, an individual has the right to donate property and money. An individual is not entitled to provide sponsorship.
There is no definition of anonymous donation in the law. In practice, as a rule, the donor is recognized as anonymous if he has not indicated (or indicated false) information in the payment document: last name, first name, patronymic, residence address (for an individual), taxpayer identification number, bank details (for a legal entity). If something goes wrong and the donated money has to be returned, it is not returned to an anonymous donor, but is credited to the state budget. This often happens in the framework of the electoral process with the funding of political parties and candidates for elected office, as well as in the framework of the media.
At the same time, a significant number of donations in Belarus are collected by public organizations and charitable initiatives without specifying the name of the donor, including the widespread practice of installing boxes for collecting donations.
Accordingly, the problem of inconsistency of legal regulation of anonymous donations with the actual practice in the country and international standards requires a solution.
Direct charity implies rendering assistance to the addressee who needs it directly. It is characterized by a lack of mediation. Fundraising announcements can often be found on social networks, heard from friends or relatives. But here it is difficult to track whether the money will go to the right cause, since no reporting on the use of assistance is implied, and this is sometimes used by scammers.
Fund charity is carried out through charitable foundations that act as intermediaries. The funds independently send contributions to the required addresses. The goals of charitable foundations are targeted assistance and the creation of a mechanism for the provision of gratuitous assistance by organizations and caring people, the development and implementation of assistance programs. Foundations provide the public with reports on their activities, therefore they are a guarantee that assistance will be provided to the address. The main difference between a private foundation and a public charity is where they receive their financial support. While a public charity receives funding from the general public, a private foundation usually has one source of funding, usually an individual or corporation.
Taxation of charitable activities in Belarus
Monetary donations received to a charitable account, gratuitous (sponsored) assistance received by disabled people, orphans and children left without parental care, payers in need of medical care, payers in connection with emergencies are exempt from income tax from individuals.
Monetary donations from resident individuals received to the charitable account are used by the budgetary organization only for their intended purpose and are not included in non-operating income when taxed with profit tax.
Benefits of charitable activities in Belarus
The state is interested in the charitable activities of citizens and organizations and can add dynamics to its development by providing benefits through incentives. If enterprises are interested in providing assistance, they partly take on the concerns of the state through the implementation of socially useful functions.
Legislative regulation of charitable activities
The main legal regulation governing the provision and use of gratuitous (sponsored) assistance in the Republic of Belarus is the Decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus dated 01.07.2005 N 300 "On the provision and use of gratuitous (sponsored) assistance". Despite the significant period of existence of the Decree, there are a lot of questions about its application in practice. Certain aspects of charitable activities are regulated by the Civil Code. Many legal scholars, entrepreneurs and activists agree that the regulation of the sphere today is imperfect, for the development of charity it is expedient to adopt a separate law on charitable activities.
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