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Charitable trust

A charitable trust (also known popularly as a charity) is a non-profit organisation which has been registered with the government of a country, and which has to account for its activities (especially financial) to the government, usually on an annual basis. There is normally an obligation to register a non-profitable charitable organisation; because of the principle of separation of church and state in the United States churches are often exempt from this ruling. A foundation can also be a charity, though there are complex tax law differences between private foundations and public charities and use of the word foundation in an organization's name does not impart any legal benefit, generally speaking.

In the United States of America, the Attorney General of each state maintains a Registry of charitable organizations. In the United Kingdom, there is the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Donations to charities in the United States are deductable for income tax purposes if the organization has exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service, usually under sec. 501(c)(3) of the Tax Code.

See also

For evaluations of charities, see:

The Charity Navigator (http://www.charitynavigator.org)
The American Institute for Philanthropy (http://www.charitywatch.org)

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