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Charities and public associations: what's the difference?

In the conditions of Russia's full-scale armed aggression against Ukraine, the issue of the creation and operation of charitable organizations and public associations became relevant. In this article, we will consider the differences between these types of organizations.

Both public associations and charitable organizations are aimed at carrying out socially useful activities, but the main difference between them is in the nature of such activities.

Yes, according to of the Law of Ukraine "On Public Associations", public associations are created for the implementation and protection of rights and freedoms, satisfaction of public, in particular economic, social, cultural, environmental, and other interests.

Public associations are created with a certain specific purpose, which they prescribe in their charter. Such a goal can be the protection of the environment or the protection of animals, the development of sports and physical culture, the improvement of the socio-economic situation in Ukraine, or urban direction (greening of the city or preservation of ancient architecture) and many other things.

So, for example, an organization can provide psychological assistance to military personnel, participants in hostilities, and civilians affected by hostilities.

So, the public organization envisages certain areas of activity corresponding to the achievement of this goal, and carries out this activity.

Continuing the example given above, a public organization can provide individual and group psychological consultations to citizens, trainings or psychotherapy sessions; will organize training and advanced training for practicing psychologists, hold conferences, forums, lectures on relevant topics, etc.

Regarding charitable organizations, then their basic purpose is to carry out charitable activities in certain areas. What does this mean?

The spheres of charitable activity are education; health care; environmental protection and animal protection; social protection and poverty alleviation; culture and art, protection of cultural heritage; sport and physical culture; promotion of the country's defense capability and others provided for by the Law "On Charitable Activities and Charitable Organizations".

However, the main method of assistance is the accumulation and free transfer of funds and property to recipients of charitable assistance.

Charitable organizations provide assistance precisely through the accumulation of funds and either transferring them to someone in need - in accordance with the purpose of the charity organization, or purchasing the necessary property and transferring it to the person in need. So, a charitable foundation can collect funds and then transfer them to the recipient's account so that he can use them independently, or can purchase the necessary equipment for a health care facility or walkie-talkies or cars for the military.

It is worth noting that charitable foundations as a type of charitable organizations have, as a rule, a narrow profile of assistance, for example: assistance to the elderly; assistance in the fight against a specific disease, assistance to low-income families, etc.

Thus, this information will help to determine which organization is better to create in a certain specific case, and then the registration of a public association or a charitable organization with state registrars takes place.

What is required for state registration of an organization?

It is necessary to choose the appropriate type of charitable organization/public association, to determine the purpose and scope/directions of the organization's activities, to determine methods of financing. The following documents should be prepared for state registration.

To register a charity fund:

  • application for state registration of a legal entity;
  • a decision or protocol (if there are more than 1 founders) on creation;
  • regulations;
  • description of the ownership structure of the legal entity.


To register a public association:

  • application for state registration of a legal entity;
  • a decision or protocol (if there are more than 1 founders) on creation;
  • regulations;
  • description of the ownership structure of the legal entity.
  • information about governing bodies;
  • information about the person authorized to carry out registration actions.

There is no administrative fee for state registration of charitable organizations and public associations.

For the preparation of these documents, we recommend contacting professional lawyers, because their preparation, in particular the statute, requires taking into account many legal requirements.

So, for example, public associations and charitable organizations can carry out activities in the status of non-profit organizations, that is, as non-payers of income tax. To do this, you need to submit an application to the tax office (it is part of the application for state registration), and the tax office, after checking all the documents submitted for registration, will make a decision on entering the register of non-profit organizations or on refusal.

In order to make a positive decision, it is necessary to take into account all the requirements, in particular, those related to the sources of funds and the procedure for spending property, which is prescribed in the founding documents.

For more detailed information, you can contact us - the lawyers of the "BARGEN" company will advise you and help you carry out all registration actions.


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