The review will examine the role charities play in society, and seek to identify ways to improve the efficiency and efficacy of the current system. Over 16 weeks it will accept evidence on whether and how the tax treatment of charities needs to be reformed.
Charities receive around £3.7 billion a year in tax reliefs each year. These range from business rates relief, social investment tax relief, and gift aid to VAT exemption and inheritance tax relief.
Anyone with relevant knowledge, expertise or experience of charitable tax reliefs in the UK is invite to submit their evidence. This could include charities, donors, academics, think tanks, representative bodies, accountants, philanthropy and financial advisers and tax professionals.
Unless respondents indicate to the contrary, it will be assumed that they have no objection to their response being made public.
Impact of tax and transparency
Part of the focus of the Commission is to understand how current tax treatment directs or affects the activities of charities and encourages, or otherwise, certain behaviour.
It is also seeking views on ways to increase transparency of charities in handling and spending public money without significantly increasing the administrative burden on charities.
The Charity Tax Commission
The Charity Tax Commission was launched in October 2017 and is supported by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).
The commission is chaired by Sir Nicholas Montagu, former chair of the Inland Revenue. He is supported by six other commissioners with extensive charity, economic and fiscal policy expertise. The Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs are acting as observers on the commission.
Sir Nicholas has blogged today about the work of the commission.
He said: “It’s 20 years since the last review of how the tax system treats charities, and a lot has changed since then. So it’s time for a fresh look, and we want to hear from a wide range of people with experience and expertise in the field about what changes they think are needed. This is not about throwing money at the sector. It’s about using the public money that’s already there to make the system work more effectively for charities and their beneficiaries.”
Alongside the consultation, the commission will also be holding a series of public evidence-gathering meetings across the UK during the consultation period.
The call for evidence will close on 6 July 2018 at 5pm.
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