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Charity Tax Commission

In October 2017 we established an independent Charity Tax Commission, to undertake a full review of the impact of the tax system on charities. The commission will be chaired by Sir Nicholas Montagu, a former chair of the Inland Revenue, who will be joined by a board of six commissioners with extensive charity, economic and fiscal expertise. NCVO is providing secretariat support for the commission.


The last comprehensive government review of charity taxation and reliefs took place over 20 years ago. Since then, the charity sector and the environment in which it operates have changed dramatically. The sector has grown significantly in scale, and charities now do more, including playing a much bigger role in the delivery of public services.

Meanwhile, Britain’s departure from the EU opens up potential opportunities to review a number of issues related to the tax treatment of charities. Tax relief for charities and donors are estimated to be worth £3.7bn a year, including, business rates relief, gift relief and VAT relief. The aim of the commission is to ensure that the tax system and the reliefs it offers are still operating in a way that generates the maximum public benefit.

The commission will develop a long-term strategic approach to fiscal policy for the voluntary sector. To do this it will examine the principles that underpin charitable tax relief, analyse the current system of tax reliefs, and develop recommendations for reform. The commission will primarily focus on increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the existing taxation system and make practical, evidence-based recommendations for government

Read more in the commission’s full terms of reference

Public call for evidence

The commission will open a public call for evidence on the current system of relief in early 2018.

This 16-week consultation period will be an opportunity for charities, finance and taxation experts and members of the public to provide feedback on their experience and views of the current system. The commission will also be holding a series of public hearing sessions across the country in spring / summer 2018.

More details will be published in due course. In the meantime, you can sign up below if you would like to be contacted when the consultation is launched.

Members of the Charity Tax Commission

The work of the Charity Tax Commission will be led by a board of commissioners with experience in charity, economic and fiscal issues.

Chair, Sir Nicholas Montagu KCB

Sir Nicholas MontagueNick Montagu’s 30 years as a UK civil servant, after starting life as an academic philosopher, included establishing social security executive agencies, and privatising British Rail. As chairman from 1997, he led the Inland Revenue through the greatest changes in its 200-year history, spearheading the drive to make it more customer-focussed.  

Nick is currently chairman of the Financial Ombudsman Service and until August 2017 was Chairman of Council at Queen Mary University of London. He has written and lectured extensively, including significant development and capacity-building work overseas, on public administration and governance issues, public service reform, social security, public finance and tax administration: he is also a nationally-recognised authority on diversity, for which he had civil service-wide responsibility.

Dan Corry, CEO, New Philanthropy Capital

Dan Corry is chief executive of New Philanthropy Capital, the charity think tank and consultancy. He formerly chaired the Council of Economic Advisers at the Treasury and was senior economic advisor to prime minister Gordon Brown from 2007 to 2010. He was also special adviser to the secretary of state in the Education Department as well as at DTI and DCLG and director in the Economics segment of FTI Consulting.

Eleanor Shawcross Wolfson OBE, Adviser to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Eleanor spent the past decade working as special adviser and then deputy chief of staff to the former chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne. She is now a freelance consultant, currently working on a project with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Her policy portfolio while at the Treasury spanned supply-side reform, departmental spending, tax, financial services, pensions, infrastructure, the ‘sharing economy’ and the arts. Eleanor is a trustee for BookTrust, the UK’s largest children's reading charity, and The Winnicott Foundation, which supports the neonatal intensive care units of Imperial NHS Trust.

Clare Pelham, CEO, Epilepsy Society

Clare is chief executive of the Epilepsy Society. Her career has spanned public, private and charity sectors: from building better prisons and improving employment opportunities for offenders as a director of HM Prison Service, to increasing support for disadvantaged communities as a director of Coca-Cola. She was the first chief executive of the Judicial Appointments Commission, previously holding senior civil service posts in the Cabinet Office, Home Office and Ministry of Justice. She then led Leonard Cheshire Disability in championing disabled people in the UK and around the world.

Lynne Oats, Professor of Taxation and Accounting, University of Exeter     

Lynne Oats is professor of taxation and accounting at University of Exeter Business School, deputy director of the Tax Administration Research Centre and vice chair of the UK Tax Research Network. She previously worked at the Australian Taxation Office and has been a tax academic in Australia and the UK for 27 years. Lynne is managing editor of the Journal of Tax Administration, assistant editor (accounting) of British Tax Review, and has published widely in the accounting and taxation fields.

Pesh Framjee, Head of Non Profits, Crowe Clark Whitehill  

Pesh Framjee is global head of Non Profits at Crowe Clark Whitehill and is special advisor to the Charity Finance Group. He is a chartered accountant and has been working with charities for over 30 years. He is joint author of Charities – the law and practice and writes and lectures on matters of charity law, financial reporting, fundraising, governance, trading, tax matters, risk management and strategy. He has been a member of the committee that produces the Statement on Recommended Practice on Accounting and Reporting by Charities for over 22 years and is now technical advisor to the committee.

Sarah Atkinson, Director of Policy and Comms, Charity Commission

Sarah joined the Charity Commission in June 2006 as head of corporate affairs before being appointed director of policy and communications in October 2014. Previously she worked in communications and public policy in the private sector, most recently as head of public affairs at Nationwide Building Society. Sarah is a board member of Endometriosis UK and a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Professional Practices Panel.

HM Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs

These organisations are observers to the commission.

Advisory and Reference groups

To ensure that the commission’s work is informed by a wide range of relevant interests and expert opinion, the commission will be assisted by an advisory group of individuals with expertise in taxation, and a reference group with expertise in charity issues. The membership of these groups will be published in due course.

Sign up for udpates

If you would like us to update you on the work on the commission and let you know when the consultation is launched, please submit your details below

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