Research questions to get our teeth into on Gift Aid

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December 2, 2013 at 09:57

The National Audit Office has released a report on HMRC, Gift Aid and other tax reliefs on donations.  Overall it estimates the cost to the exchequer of these tax reliefs to be around £2bn, around half of which goes to charities.  One of the main findings the NAO has stressed is that there is not enough data to ascertain a causal link between Gift Aid and changes in giving behaviour.  Subsequently there is little to determine the value for money of the scheme.  Despite this, most in the sector would argue the success of the Gift Aid brand and the […]

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 […]

Countdown to Charities Online: Gift Aid – Are your plans in place?

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February 4, 2013 at 15:44

Tania Cohen gives her take on the big changes in Gift Aid due this Spring… The changes From April 2013 a new system for claiming Gift Aid repayments will start replacing the current R68(i) claim process. The “print and post” repayment form will be replaced with three new options for charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs to claim payments, with the options available largely based on the size of the claims. Submitting claims electronically will have a range of benefits. Claims will get processed quicker, while saving postal costs. The new service will be more accurate, with built-in checks that will […]

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 […]

Gift Aid without the paperwork… worth the risk!

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August 10, 2012 at 14:59

My edition of the textbook, ‘What Works’, has gathered a convincing layer of dust of late.  With a title reference to rhetoric on ‘evidence-based policy’, once a critical companion to my studies, the book now has a feeling of an old relic from the past.   Looking at recent proposals, many in the charity sector have asked whether we have lost something in terms of attempting to frame policy decisions within a sound evidence base.  It may sometimes be rhetoric, but surely it helps focus decisions on ‘what works’. Clear policy objectives and direction are difficult to identify among an untidy […]

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 […]