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Tweaking the annual return

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July 24, 2013 at 20:05

Our policy team recently took the unusual step of completing CFG’s annual return (AR).  As in most charities, this normally falls to our finance team, so this was relatively new territory for us, and a rather a novel way to get our heads around the Charity Commission’s latest consultation, ‘Developing the content of the annual return and information displayed on the register of charities’. While not the liveliest of issues we’re working on right now, this stuff matters – our members agree as over 150 of them took the time to send us in their thoughts.  Accounts, reports and the […]

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 […]

It takes two to tango with the social investment tax relief

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July 10, 2013 at 12:26

With social investment recently hailed by the prime minster as ‘a great force for social change on the planet’ you’d be forgiven for thinking there was rather more of it going on. Nonetheless, the deals do appear to be slowly catching up with the rhetoric – recent research suggests that social investment was up 22% to £202m in 2011/12, and several early guinea pigs have shown signs of success – reoffending is down at Peterborough Prison and Mencap’s £10m bond recently sold out sooner than anticipated. Following the launch of Big Society Capital, the Social Stock Exchange and Social Impact […]

Little good news for charities in 2013 Spending Review

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June 27, 2013 at 09:11

There was little cause for optimism for the charity sector in the Government’s 2013 Spending Review, with a few niche giveaways overshadowed by more details on planned welfare reforms and further cuts to local government. What’s it all about? The 2013 Spending Review divided up a pre-determined amount of spending between departments for the 2015/16 financial year, aiming to make total savings of £11.5bn on 2014/15. It also outlined future changes to ‘annually managed expenditure’, which is made up largely of welfare and debt interest payments and accounts for just over half of total government expenditure. This round of cuts […]

The significance of the Spending Review

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June 25, 2013 at 13:38

In 2010 the Spending Review set departmental expenditure limits (DELs) from 2011/12 to 2014/15, outlining details of savings in the region of £86bn over that time. Tomorrow, nearly three years later and not much closer to eliminating the structural deficit, a new Spending Review will set DELs for the year 2015/16, aiming to achieve another £11.5bn of cuts. The next general election is set for 2015 and Labour has already said they will honour DELs set for the 2015/16 financial year.  The significance of this review is not necessarily the length of the period to which it refers though, but […]

Why recruitment from the private sector may be increasing in charity finance teams

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June 4, 2013 at 14:43

Charity Finance Group’s latest People and Pay Survey (formerly Salary Survey) showed a significant increase in recruitment from the private sector into charity finance teams, but what are the drivers behind this trend, for both employees and charities, and what might it suggest to us about wider changes in the sector? Let’s begin with the numbers. 338 CFG member charities participated in the People and Pay survey this year, and 41% of these recruited someone to their finance department in 2012. Of these, 59% reported having recruited someone from the private sector, compared to just 32% reported in last year’s […]

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 […]

CFG Annual Conference 2013 opening plenary speaker Matthew Taylor hints at his upcoming speech…

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May 2, 2013 at 07:53

It is always dangerous for me to describe what I plan to say in a speech ahead of delivering it. As my father once said to me ‘I don’t know what I think until I hear myself say it’. When I was asked to speak at the CFG conference, the organisers referred to a blog post I had written on farming. In this I had argued that interest groups – like the farming lobby – often face a choice between three types of narrative: ‘we’re facing crisis’; ‘we’re being faced with a crucial/terrible choice’; or ‘we are the best answer […]

The charity finance professional in 2013: insights from CFG’s latest People and Pay Survey

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April 26, 2013 at 18:47

This week sees the release of our latest People and Pay Survey (formerly Salary Survey), which tracks trends in salaries, recruitment and wider employment issues in charity finance teams. This year we revamped the survey to explore some new and exciting areas where we think important changes may be occurring, and renamed it to reflect its wider remit. So what does the survey tell us about charity finance professionals in 2013, and what can charities learn from this? 1. They have a wide range of responsibilities This year’s survey enabled us, for the first time, to put figures to a […]