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 […]

FATCA: What charities need to know

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May 10, 2013 at 10:59

Eva Abeles and Melora Jezierska provide an update on the current status of FATCA legislation and its implications for the charity sector It is fair to say that FATCA (the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) has not been on the charity world’s radar as it is, after all, a piece of US tax legislation.  However, charities operating internationally should be aware of FATCA to ensure they are not inadvertently caught by the rules.  What is FATCA? FATCA is extra-territorial US legislation which seeks to combat US tax evasion in a rather heavy-handed manner.  It requires foreign financial institutions (‘FFIs’), e.g. banks, […]

VAT at 40: a win for the exchequer but a loss for the charity sector

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May 7, 2013 at 19:35

Last month, the start of a new tax year, was an unexpectedly busy one for charities, with procedural changes afoot to Gift Aid claims and PAYE, and the introduction of the new Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme. Amidst this noise, a tax milestone worthy of comment almost passed us unnoticed; VAT celebrated its 40 birthday!  Given the sector’s long-standing adversarial relationship with it, it’s a timely reminder of  the VAT anomalies charities face even after 40 years. VAT has always been a hugely controversial area for charities – and is possibly the finest example of where the failure to account […]

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 […]

Real Time Information: are you ready for the changes to payroll?

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March 18, 2013 at 11:09

The start of the new tax year will bring with it significant changes to the way PAYE is administered. The big question for employers is – have you been paying attention? Susan Ball, director of the Employers Advisory Group at national tax, audit and advisory firm Crowe Clark Whitehill runs through the changes coming under Real Time Information (RTI) PAYE reporting system.   HMRC wrote to all employers in early 2013 to let them know their RTI migration date. For most this is likely to be the next payment run after 06 April 2013.  What is RTI? RTI is more […]

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 […]

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 […]

Foot-shooting policy making

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May 14, 2012 at 15:30

The tax relief cap policy is the latest example of charities (and their beneficiaries) suffering disproportionately as a consequence of badly thought through policies – in other words charity and our civil society being an after-thought and not the first thought. Decisions are being made as a result of simplistic politically charged arguments, without considering the wider picture – in a time where society needs it most, fostering a strong civil society has become the last thought.   This is essentially an example of poor policy making, and poor policy making often has damaging results.  In the example of the tax relief cap […]