Funding round-up: July 2019

Charity Tax Commission publishes recommendations

The Charity Tax Commission, established by NCVO in 2017, has published its final report, Reforming charity taxation: towards a stronger civil society (PDF, 2MB). The commission proposes several reforms that could potentially unlock hundreds of millions of pounds for charities each year, while making everyday administration simpler. Recommendations include:

  • making it easier for higher-rate taxpayers to pass their relief on to their chosen charities, potentially boosting support by £250m a year
  • creating a new digital Gift Aid database, meaning fewer fiddly forms and less money spent on admin, helping to make inroads in the hundreds of millions of pounds of unclaimed Gift Aid each year
  • making it compulsory for UK employers to offer a payroll giving scheme
  • removing VAT from wills, encouraging solicitors to raise the question of leaving a gift to charities more often.

Longer-term, the commission recommends that government conduct a root-and-branch review of VAT, as charities – particularly smaller ones – often find the current system incredibly difficult and costly to navigate.

The report has been received positively by the sector and beyond, and has kick-started timely debate on the future of charity taxation. The commission’s chair Sir Nicholas Montagu has written a blog post summarising the key recommendations.

NCVO will be working with our partners in the coming months to urge government to implement many of the commission’s low-cost, common-sense proposals.

Publication of the 2019 Civil Society Almanac

We have published the 2019 edition of the Civil Society Almanac, our annual treasure trove of facts and figures related to the charity sector.

You can read about the key emerging trends in Lisa Hornung’s blog post.

And our head of policy, Elizabeth, has written about what the policy context can tell us about the data.


Social Value in government procurement

Government has been consulting on how it should take greater account of social value in the award of central government contracts.

NCVO submitted a response (PDF, 870KB) jointly with the Charity Finance Group (CFG) and the Small Charities Coalition (SCC).

New charity tax reliefs statistics published

HMRC have published new figures for tax reliefs received by charities in 2018/19. Gift Aid claimed by charities is up £90m to £1.36bn, business rates relief is up £60m to £2.2bn, Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme is up £10m to £40m, together meaning total charity relief is up £110m to £3.79bn.

YouGov analysis of charitable giving in Britain

YouGov’s paper What motivates charitable giving? explores how charities can keep the next generation of supporters engaged, why some people choose not to give to charity, and which charities have the highest levels of satisfaction.

Fundraising Regulator and public trust

The Fundraising Regulator has published research, The role of the Fundraising Regulator: public awareness, trust and expectations looking at its role and potential impact on public trust in fundraisers. Their chair, Lord Harris, has written a blog post setting out his take on the research and the challenge it presents to the regulator.

New Code of Fundraising Practice

The Fundraising Regulator has launched its new and improved Code of Fundraising Practice due to come into effect in October 2019.

The changes focus on the style, presentation, clarity and accessibility of the current code. They aim to make it easier to navigate the code and understand what the standards are. The language has been reviewed to be in plain English and all the standards relating to public collections that previously appeared in separate rule books have been incorporated, meaning that all of the relevant standards can now be found in one place.

The Institute of Fundraising has published a blog post about the new code and what you need to know.

Legacies – Tribunals Service update

HM Courts and Tribunals Service has announced an interim arrangement with Smee & Ford so that charities can continue to receive alerts about money that has been left to them in wills. An open letter from HMCTS to charities explains that Smee & Ford will now have to pay a statutory fee for all wills and grants from August 2019, so costs will go up a bit – but the law is changing to reduce probate copy fees, which cushions the cost considerably.

Making Tax Digital for VAT

HMRC has updated its mythbusters sheet for Making Tax Digital. Charity Tax Group is going to be working with HMRC to prepare a mythbusters document tailored for charities including exactly what is permissible as a digital link.

HMRC is now operating a helpful online forum for Making Tax Digital queries. Charities should register to see if any of their queries have already been answered.

HMRC has also published a call for evidence on the simplification of partial exemption and the Capital Goods Scheme.


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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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