The setting up of voluntary organisations under Maltese law is regulated by the Voluntary Organisations Act. The law was introduced by means of Act XXII of 2007 with the intention of regulating a wide-ranging sector which had hitherto been largely left to its own devices. The law also established the office of the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisation, who is the authority in charge with overseeing the enrolment process for voluntary organisations.
According to the Voluntary Organisations Act, a Voluntary Organisation is an organisation which is created or established:
- for any lawful purpose;
- as non-profit making; and
- is voluntary
The law also establishes a procedure for the enrolment of Voluntary Organisations in a Register of Voluntary Organisations. Enrolment requires the fulfilment of a number of requirements, including the submission of annual accounts and identification of the administrators of the organisation. It should be noted that it is not enrolment which confers the status of Voluntary Organisation; any organisation that fulfils the above criteria is a Voluntary Organisation. However, enrolment confers a number of important advantages to the organisation, including:
- an enrolled Voluntary Organisation may make collections without the need to obtain any further authorisations
- receive or be the beneficiary of grants, sponsorships or other financial aid from the Government, any entity controlled by the Government or the Voluntary Organisations Fund
- Be the beneficiary of any policies supporting voluntary action as may be developed by the Government
- Receive or be the beneficiary of exemptions, privileges or other entitlements in terms of any law
- Be a party to contracts and other engagements, whether against remuneration or not, for the carrying out of services for the achievement of its social purpose at the request of the Government or any entity controlled by the Government.
The formation and enrolment of a Voluntary Organisation does not automatically give rise to a legal person. Voluntary Organisations have the option to register as legal persons, but not the obligation to do so. Similarly, the registration of a Voluntary Organisation as a legal person does not imply the enrolment of the organisation.
For more information about Voluntary Organisations in Malta, contact us at your convenience.