From February 24 to June 30, 2022, 4,365 civil society organizations were registered in Ukraine. This information was received by the Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law (CEDEM) of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine.
Among those registered are 3,364 charitable organizations and 1,001 NGOs. Some of them are new, while others used to work unofficially and now have official status.
These figures are significantly higher than last year’s figures. For example, 792 new charitable organizations were registered in the country in 2021, while in just over 4 months of 2022, more than 4 times that number.
CEDEM experts explain this by the fact that civil society got mobilized to help the Armed Forces of Ukraine and civilians. In addition, organizations are seeking official status so they can have more opportunities, such as: the right to open bank accounts, raise funding, cooperate with volunteers by entering into contracts for volunteer activities and issuing volunteer IDs, etc.
The activity of volunteers in cooperation with an officially registered non-profit organization is the right format of cooperation and volunteering. At the same time, the official registration of the organization is only one of the steps. Volunteers who help the military, healthcare professionals, displaced people and other Ukrainians overcome difficulties are not immune to the risks of war. If they get injured while helping others, they will not receive compensation from the state, CEDEM experts note. After all, the current regulation of the Ministry of Health “On Volunteering” provides for the possibility of assistance for injured volunteers or families of deceased volunteers who worked in the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk Regions. Today’s realities are different.
In order to ensure the rights of volunteers, it is necessary to adopt volunteer draft laws No. 7363 and No. 7364, which are currently registered in the Verkhovna Rada. Lawyers of the Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law, together with the project team of the Ukraine Civil Society Sectoral Support Activity, urge MPs to vote for such important changes as soon as possible.
“All volunteers who suffered injuries during their activities aimed at the defense of Ukraine will be able to count on financial assistance from the state. No matter in what region they worked. This is stated in the volunteer draft laws. It is important that MPs adopt draft laws No.7363 and No.7364 (amendments to the Tax Code) as soon as possible, so that the new regulations for volunteers start working soon,” stressed Nataliia Povtar, CEDEM expert.
There are also some other novelties for volunteers in the draft laws:
- Assistance in overcoming the consequences of Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine will be added to the list of areas for volunteering. After all, the original law “On Volunteering” (2011) did not have such a clause.
- Conditions will appear for the development and implementation of state targeted programs to support volunteers and train them.
- The draft laws will encourage volunteers and NGOs to conclude cooperation agreements.
- If a volunteer receives reimbursement for travel expenses or medical exams, this money will not be considered as income. Accordingly, the volunteer will not pay taxes on them: Personal Income Tax (PIT) and Unified Social Tax (UST).
- The same principle will apply to compensation if the volunteer is a student: for example, pre-hospital care, psychological adaptation, work with PTSD.
- Non-profit organizations will be able to help victims of hostilities (for example, forced migrants) without violating the conditions of non-profitability. This rule already works for those who help the AFU and other military formations. And since it is difficult to make changes to the charter, the amendment remains relevant.
The initiators of the draft laws urge MPs to adopt them as soon as possible. The initiators of the draft laws urge MPs to adopt them as soon as possible. And therefore, they will help Ukraine to win.