Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Charity


What is the dictionary definition of Charity?

Dictionary Definition

n. 1) in general the sentiment of benevolence, doing good works, assisting the less fortunate, philanthropy and contributing to the general public. 2) an organization which exists to help those in need or provide educational, scientific, religious and artistic assistance to members of the public. Charities are usually corporations established under state guidelines and require IRS approval in order for contributions to them to be deductible from gross income by donors.

Full Definition of Charity

Charity involves granting of resources or services for economically underprivileged populace, public bodies, educational institutions or for religious purposes. Charitable organizations and non-profit organizations provide charitable services to targeted groups. Of this non-profit organizations mostly operate in a corporate business framework.

Whether an organization is a charitable one or not is determined by the law of a country. Broadly speaking a charity conforms to following characteristics.

  • It is normally either an institution or a trust fund
  • Its basic purpose is poverty alleviation or public benefit
  • It is a non-profit entity
  • It abides by the legal definition of charity of concerned nation

Law of most countries demands a charity to be an ‘entity’. Corporation, partnership, unincorporated association and trust are all different types of entities. [Factors like activities, recognition, size, purpose and permanence determine whether an entity can be termed as an institution or not]. Any charitable institution normally excludes entities, which are controlled by a particular family.

Charity And Tax Benefits

Charity confers tax benefits on business and individual economic entities. However, nature and extent of tax benefits reaped depend on a country’s law. Normally tax benefits accrue from following charities.

  • Stock gifts
  • Charitable remainder trust
  • Real estate gift
  • Living trust
  • Estate planning
  • Planned giving
  • Endowing one’s gift

Corporate Charity

Corporate houses undertake charity as a part of social responsibility. They engage in activities like road repairs, construction of educational institutions and medical facilities to name a few. This helps in corporate brand building. There are specific tax laws governing corporate charity.

Charity Research

Of late, charity research business has prospered in developing nations like India. Their main purpose is to seek accountability of allocation and use of charity funds. This is done to prevent misappropriation of funds and ensuring the delivery of benefits to targeted groups. Management consultants are often employed for this kind of projects. Starting from background checks, regulatory compliance to credibility with money, all small project details are looked into. (Developed nations often have NGO-rating systems for determining credibility and track record of these charitable organizations).

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Charity. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd.
March 01, 2024
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Charity. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: March 01, 2024).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Charity. Retrieved March 01, 2024
, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Charity are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 26th April, 2020 | 0 Views.