Charity Tax Commission advisory and reference groups

Last November we announced that NCVO has established an independent Charity Tax Commission to undertake a full review of charitable tax reliefs in the UK.

The commission is being chaired by Sir Nicholas Montagu, a former chair of the Inland Revenue, who’s joined by a board of six commissioners with extensive charity, economic and fiscal expertise.

Tax reliefs for charities are worth an estimated £3.7bn a year. This provides vital support for much of the important work the sector does, every day, across the country. But it’s important that the current system is fit-for-purpose and is generating as much public benefit as possible.

It’s time to review charity tax

It’s been two decades since the last comprehensive review of charity tax took place. Since then the operating environment in which charities work has transformed significantly while the sector itself has grown in both size and scope.

Some of the trends that will inform the commission’s work will be well known to many charities. These include the bigger role the sector now plays in public service delivery, and changes to the way it is funded, such as the transition from grants to contracts, and the steady rise in earned income.

And as with most things policy nowadays, Brexit will factor into the commission’s deliberations – leaving the EU potentially presents various options for making the charity tax system work better for charities, society and the exchequer.

Supporting the commission’s work

A full review of charitable tax reliefs is obviously no mean feat. That’s why, to help ensure the work of the commission is informed by a broad range of views, experience and expertise, we’ve set up two groups that will be supporting its work.

An advisory group of individuals with expertise in taxation and finance issues will provide technical feedback and advice to the commission when it analyses responses to its call for evidence and develops recommendations which will be put to government in Spring 2019.

Similarly, as the work of the commission progresses, a reference group of senior people from across the voluntary sector will provide sector-specific insight and views on behalf of the many organisations and groups who benefit from, and are affected by, the tax system.

Call for evidence

The commission will be launching a 16-week public call for evidence at the end of February, seeking views and evidence from anyone with relevant knowledge, expertise or experience of the system of charitable tax reliefs in the UK. This includes charities, donors, academics, think tanks, representative bodies, accountants, financial advisers, tax professionals, and of course, members of the public.

If you’d like us to let you know when the call for evidence is live, you can sign up to our mailing list or drop me an email if you’d like to know more about the commission.

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Paul joined NCVO over seven years ago after working for a leading public affairs agency. Since then he’s led our policy work on a variety of issues, including welfare-to-work reforms, volunteering, the Compact, public service commissioning and procurement regulations. He now leads our work on funding and finance with a particular focus on charity tax relief and safeguarding EU funding post-Brexit.

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