Business rate relief for charity shops in Wales: why it matters elsewhere too

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July 11, 2013 at 14:16

The business rates relief available to charities has been thrust into the spotlight of late.  As well as a number of high profile cases linking charity rate relief to tax avoidance by landlords, they have also been the subject of debate in Wales, following a report by the Business Rates Task and Finish Group commissioned by the Welsh Government. At present charities occupying commercial property are entitled to relief on business rates, provided it is used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes.  This includes 80% mandatory relief funded by central government, which local, or ‘billing’ authorities can choose to top […]

What we’d like from George tomorrow

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March 19, 2013 at 18:33

Tomorrow the Chancellor has the unenviable task of delivering the budget.  It’s not just the contents of the infamous red box that will be revealed at 12.30, we’ll also hear the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) prognosis for the economy and the public finances – and their judgement about whether the Government is on course to meet its medium-term fiscal objective. The OBR is expected to further downgrade growth forecasts and a triple-dip recession is a high possibility. With the Chancellor’s justification for his economic programme so far – that it would enable us to keep our stellar AAA credit […]

Banking Standards Commission report sparks further debate on the banking reforms

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December 21, 2012 at 14:34

Today the long and messy process of reforming the banking sector to avoid another catastrophe got shaken up by the publication of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards’ report on the reforms.  A shake up which could also affect the way the reforms impact charities. The Commission was set up following the LIBOR scandals to look at standards in banking, and was also tasked with conducting pre-legislative scrutiny of the Banking Reform Bill, the Treasury’s package of measures (based on the Independent Commission on Banking’s recommendations) to reform the banking sector to increase competition, stability and integrity. The Commission’s scrutiny […]

FATCA: The facts (plus a few observations)

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December 20, 2012 at 10:50

Few people outside of the financial services industry have heard of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), and even fewer would expect it to have any direct impact on UK charities. However, the early signs are that this complex piece of US legislation will add another unwanted layer of red tape to UK charity regulation.  But before delving into what it might mean for charities, here’s a brief summary of the legislative beast that is FATCA: FATCA is new US legislation aimed at combating tax evasion by US residents using foreign accounts – an uncontroversial policy goal but with […]

Are you getting all you can from your bank?

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October 26, 2012 at 15:14

Let’s be blunt – managing your own bank account can be a fairly dull, routine process and not something you want to spend a lot of time on.  However it is essential, and a convenient service from a supportive bank will ensure your funds are managed properly and, hopefully, take up very little of your time.  Many charities want a quick and easy solution to banking too and we receive regular queries from organisations wanting to make sure they’re picking the right bank account and going about it the right way. Selecting a bank account is like choosing between mobile […]

Another zero rate bites the dust…

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August 29, 2012 at 16:08

With fewer distractions now the Olympics have finished, we’ve been reflecting on the charity finance-related policy developments of the year so far – many of which were introduced or reiterated in March’s budget.  The rather unpopular budget finally limped onto the statute book last month, following a number of u-turns and minus any reference to the ‘charity tax’ following widespread objections from the sector. One area where lobbying efforts were much less successful, however, was on the Government’s proposal to remove the VAT zero-rating for alterations to listed buildings.  The measure will result in significant additional costs to charities owning […]

Banking reform shouldn’t put charities at risk

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July 13, 2012 at 14:15

Apart from the respite provided by expense-fiddling MPs and phone hacking journalists, banks have dominated the headlines as the UK’s biggest villains for the past few years.  Even now they’re back in the news for the wrong reasons. While individuals’ heads have rolled, since 2008 the Government has been under huge pressure to do more – to detoxify the banks and make our banking system safer and more stable.  In June, following recommendations from the Independent Commission on Banking, the Government laid out its plans for fundamental change in its banking reform white paper. Unfortunately, lurking in the white paper […]

Charity fraud – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

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June 8, 2012 at 13:12

Last week we launched our Charity Fraud guide, along with the Fraud Advisory Panel’s (FAP) Safer Giving guidance for donors, at a special breakfast seminar event.  We easily secured the first three speakers, from the FAP, National Fraud Authority (NFA) and Charity Commission, however the fourth speaker – a charity who had experienced fraud and was willing to talk about it – proved somewhat more difficult to find.  Few suitable names sprung to mind and even fewer that we thought might be willing to stand up and share their story.  Just organising the fraud event was indicative of the challenges […]