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Charity tax commissioners announced

A former chairman of Inland Revenue will chair a commission on charity taxation, it was announced today. Sir Nicholas Montagu will lead a high-level team of commissioners undertaking a full review of the charity tax system and develop recommendations to government. The Charity Tax Commission has been established by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), which represents charities, social enterprises and community groups.

Existing tax reliefs for charities amount to approximately £3.7bn each year and generate significant public benefit by helping charities do more. However, in the 20 years since the government’s last review of charity taxation, the voluntary sector has evolved significantly, with fundamental changes to the way charities operate and the role they play in society. Against this backdrop, the commission will conduct a thorough appraisal of existing charitable reliefs and make recommendations to ensure that charitable tax reliefs are producing the public benefits intended in the most effective way.

Commissioners have been appointed by virtue of their expertise in fiscal policy and experience of the charity sector. The members of the commission are:

  • Sarah Atkinson, director of policy, planning and communications, Charity Commission
  • Pesh Framjee, head of not for profits, Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP, and special advisor at Charity Finance Group
  • Lynne Oats, professor of taxation and accounting, University of Exeter Business School, and co-director of the Tax Administration Research Centre
  • Dan Corry, chief executive, New Philanthropy Capital, and former chair of the council of economic advisers at the Treasury
  • Clare Pelham, chief executive, Epilepsy Society

The Treasury and HMRC will join the commission as observers. One further commissioner may be confirmed shortly. The commission’s first meeting will take place later this week at which point it will confirm its full terms of reference.

The findings and recommendations of the commission, which aims to complete its work within 18 months, will help inform the Inquiry into the Future of Civil Society chaired by Julia Unwin CBE, which is due to conclude in 2019.

Sir Nicholas Montagu, chair of the Charity Tax commission, said:

The government’s last comprehensive review of the charity tax system was in 1997. Since then, the charity sector and the environment in which it operates have evolved dramatically. Charities have come to play a much bigger role, for example in public service delivery, and they operate on new and different business models.

My aspiration is for the commission’s proposals to inform future changes to the tax system such that it can continue to support charities’ work as effectively as possible. I look forward to drawing up pragmatic proposals that will appropriately balance the need for a fair and efficient tax system with the important role that we want charities to continue to play in society.

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For further information, contact Daniela Wulf, trainee external relations officer, at NCVO: 020 7520 2424 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


  1. As chairman of the Inland Revenue from 1997, Sir Nicholas Montagu led the department through the greatest changes in its 200-year history, spearheading the drive to make it more customer-focussed. He is currently chairman of the Financial Ombudsman Service, and until August 2017 was chairman of council at Queen Mary University of London. Since retiring in 2004, he has also chaired the with-profits committee of Aviva UK Life, and served on the boards of two pension companies and on PricewaterhouseCoopers’ advisory board. He has written and lectured extensively on public administration and governance issues, public service reform, social security, public finance and tax administration.
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