Nonprofit Organizations and Donations in Israel
This article addresses donors and donations in Israel, including how records should be kept and donors that must be reported to the public or Registrar of Amutot.
This series of posts
Our lawyers at Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh have experience in a variety of fields, including Israeli nonprofit law. This article discusses what you need to know about nonprofits or charitable organizations (an amuta in singular and amutot in plural) in Israel. This series of posts goes through various rules for proper and legal management of nonprofit organizations in Israel in order to better help you administer your Israeli nonprofit organization.
For more information on the Israeli Corporations Authority which oversees Israeli non-profit organizations, see the government website. For more articles from an Israeli lawyer and legal advice for Israeli non-profit organizations related to the topic of this article, see our articles about record keeping, a certificate of proper management and issues related to cash, checks and credit cards.
In order to ensure proper management of Israeli nonprofit organizations, there are strict rules regarding donors and donations in Israel.
Keeping records of donors and donations in Israel
All Israeli nonprofit organizations are required to keep internal records of their donors and a record of any money or assets donors give to the amuta either as donations or gifts. The internal records must include: 1) the donor’s name, 2) a description of the gift, donation or asset the donor gives to the amuta, and 3) the date of the receipt.
In the event that a donor wishes to be anonymous, their name does not need to be recorded so long as the donation is less than 20,000 NIS per year. If the donation is greater than 20,000 NIS per year and the donor wishes to be anonymous in the Israeli nonprofit organization’s financial statement, the amuta may submit a special letter in writing to the Registrar of Amutot giving them the relevant information. This information should include the donor’s identity, address, donation amount and a reasoned case as to why the donor should remain anonymous. In the event that a foreign state has made a donation exceeding 20,000 NIS for the relevant financial year, the Israeli nonprofit organization may not request anonymity on behalf of the donor.
Right to review records
In order to ensure transparency, all internal records may be reviewed by the Executive Board, the income tax commission, people who may be sent by the Registrar of Amutot to see the Israeli nonprofit organization’s internal record system or others who have a legal right to view these documents.
Receiving donations from foreign states
If an Israeli nonprofit organization’s financial turnover is greater than 300,000 NIS, the Israeli nonprofit organization is required to report if any of their donations that are greater than 20,000 NIS annually come from a foreign state. In this case, it must list the name of the donor, the amount of the donation, the purpose or project to which the donation is designated and any conditions that apply to the donation. This information must be published on the Israeli nonprofit organization’s website, and if it does not have a website, then the Israeli nonprofit organization must notify the Registrar of Amutot about the donation, after which the donor’s information and donation amount will be published on the website of the Israeli Ministry of Justice.
Defining a foreign state entity
A foreign state includes: a union or organization of foreign states; an organization or group representing a foreign state; local or national government authorities in a foreign state; or any sort of union or group of foreign bodies. A foreign state includes the Palestinian Authority. Finally, a foreign state also includes any corporate body established by any of the aforementioned groups in this paragraph, or holding more than half of the control of a corporate body.
The purpose for knowing whether a foreign state entity is donating is to see if a foreign government is indirectly making a foreign policy influence in domestic affairs. It is advisable to seek legal advice if you are in doubt about whether a donor is considered a foreign state entity.
If you have any questions about donors or donations in Israel for your nonprofit organization, please contact us.
Advocate Joshua Pex specializes in Israeli nonprofit law and would be happy to discuss the needs of your nonprofit organization with you.
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