How to avoid errors when claiming tax reliefs

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June 22, 2015 at 10:10

Nearly 70,000 charities claim tax reliefs worth billions every year. However common errors not only create problems for charities, but increase the costs for HMRC, creating delays and diverting funding that could go towards promoting the tax reliefs towards helping people to fill out their claim forms. Last year, HMRC provided a helpful ‘Top Tips’ sheet which charities can use to make the claiming process smoother. However, here is a quick overview of some of the top errors and some tips for avoiding them. Common errors when claiming 1. Duplicating the amounts of Gift Aid and Gift Aid Small Donations […]

Government misses chance to integrate civil society into policy agenda

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June 2, 2015 at 12:07

What’s a cabinet committee? It’s probably just politicos like myself that get excited by the appointments to Cabinet Committees, but they are far more important than the much more prestigious Cabinet where only top level discussions take place. These committees handle the day-to-day decision making of government and are where the policy agenda of the government is hammered out between the various competing departments. Those committees on Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Economic policy are the most important, but there are a number of small committees which work on particular topical areas, such as the committee that has now been […]

Section 75 debt reform – an opportunity we cannot afford to miss

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May 26, 2015 at 15:59

Last Friday saw the close of the Department for Work and Pension’s call for evidence on (the catchily titled) Section 75 Employer Debt in Non-Associated Multi-Employer Defined Benefit Schemes. I assume that most readers of this blog know what non-associated multi-employer defined benefit schemes are but for the uninitiated, these are scheme including more than one employer that are unrelated (i.e. are not owned in common or under common control) where employees are promised a specific monthly payment on retirement. What is the problem? Like all employers, many charities have seen their defined benefit schemes go from surplus to substantial […]

CFG Live Blog – General Election 2015

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May 8, 2015 at 09:36

12/05/2015 – 19:00 – New Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson Rob Wilson has been reappointed Minister for Civil Society. It will be interesting to see if the Local Sustainability Fund will be put into place and whether the government will continue its focus on the social investment agenda. You can see sector wide comments on this issue here. 12/05/2015 – 10:10 – New Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (aka Charity Tax Minister), Damian Hinds Damian Hinds, MP for East Hampshire, has been made Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury which is in charge of charitable tax reliefs. Damian is seen […]

What did we learn from the latest Charity Tax Stats?

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May 1, 2015 at 12:17

Blink and you probably missed it, but yesterday, HMRC produced its update to the Charity Tax Statistics for 2014-15. While this might not sound important, they are an important window into the finances of the charity sector. Here are three things that charities should take away from the statistics: 1.    There is still a lot of potential to grow Gift Aid The NAO believes that £2.3bn of donations are currently not being claimed for Gift Aid, so it is pleasing to see the amount of Gift Aid being paid out to charities increased by £130m to £1.2bn in 2014-15. CFG […]

Will somebody please think about Gift Aid?

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April 23, 2015 at 12:31

It may seem odd in the midst of one of the most hotly contested general elections in recent memory to put in an impassioned plea for politicians to think about Gift Aid, but the relief is worth over £1bn a year for charities, so we should never stop championing it! If you were hoping that the next government would put Gift Aid at the heart of its agenda then, like me, you would have been disappointed. None of the main manifestos outlined substantive measures to enhance charitable giving, but on the positive side this does mean that nothing that could […]

Manifesto Watch 2015: UKIP

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April 16, 2015 at 12:37

CFG’s analysis of the party manifestos concludes with the United Kingdom Independence Party which unveiled their manifesto yesterday. Believe in Britain – The United Kingdom Independence Party’s Manifesto 2015 Summary of policies affecting charities: Sector-wide 20% business rate relief if it is the business’ only property and under £50k Repeal the Human Rights Act and replace with UK Bill of Rights Clamp down on ‘fake charities’ and state funded political activism Abolish Office for Civil Society Local government/Public Services Make it easier for small and medium sized businesses to tender for public sector contracts by removing the necessity to demonstrate compliance […]

Manifesto Watch 2015: Liberal Democrats

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April 15, 2015 at 18:30

CFG’s analysis of the party manifestos continues with the Liberal Democrats which unveiled their manifesto earlier today. Stronger Economy. Fairer Society. Opportunity for Everyone – The Liberal Democrats Manifesto 2015 Summary of policies affecting charities: Sector-wide Lib Dems ‘value the important role of the voluntary, independent and community sectors’ in communities and delivering public services Support social investment for charities and social enterprises Extend business rate review to consider introducing a Land Value Tax New HMRC target to reduce the tax gap and new general anti-avoidance rule Ask all companies with more than 250 employees to publish different pay levels […]

Manifesto Watch 2015: Conservatives

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April 14, 2015 at 13:01

CFG’s analysis of the party manifestos continues with the Conservative Party which unveiled its manifesto today. Strong Leadership, A Clear Economic Plan, A Brighter, More Secure Future – The Conservative Party Manifesto 2015 Summary of policies affecting charities: Sector-wide National Minimum Wage up to £8 an hour by 2020 No VAT or National Insurance increases Workplace entitlement to volunteering leave for 3 days a year with pay for those working in large companies or public sector Major review of business rates so that from 2017 they will reflect our ‘modern economy’ Support volunteering through National Citizen Service and Step Up […]

Manifesto Watch 2015: Green Party

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April 14, 2015 at 11:27

CFG’s analysis of the party manifestos continues with the Green Party, which unveiled its manifesto today. For the Common Good – The Green Party Manifesto 2015 Summary of policies affecting charities: Sector-wide Green Party values “the contribution made by civil society organisations” National Minimum Wage up to £10 an hour by 2020 10:1 pay ratios between highest and lower paid staff Encourage divestment of fossil fuels and create greener alternatives Phase in 35 hour week End exploitative zero hour contracts Support social enterprise Support co-operatives through a co-op development fund Reducing NI for employers to 8% over the long term […]