Charity Tax Commission launches public call for evidence

The Charity Tax Commission has launched a consultation seeking views on whether and how the tax treatment of charities – estimated to be worth around £3.7bn a year – needs to be reformed.

The review, the first systematic look at charity tax reliefs in over 20 years, will examine the role charities play in society, and seek to identify ways to improve the efficiency and efficacy of the current system.

The commission’s 16-week call for evidence, launched today, invites submissions from anyone with relevant knowledge, expertise or experience of the system of charitable tax reliefs in the UK, including charities, donors, academics, think tanks, representative bodies, accountants, philanthropy and financial advisers and tax professionals.

The commission will look at the full range of taxes and tax reliefs that charities and donors are subject to and benefit from – including business rates relief, social investment tax relief, gift aid, VAT exemption and inheritance tax relief. In particular, the commissioners are interested in receiving views on the extent to which current system directs the activities of charities and encourages certain behaviour.

Against a backdrop of increased scrutiny of how charities spend public money, the commission is also seeking views on ways to increase transparency without significantly increasing the administrative burden on charities.

The call for evidence will close on Friday 6 July. Alongside the consultation, the commission will also be holding a series of public evidence-gathering meetings across the UK during the consultation period.

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

It's twenty 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.

Notes for editors

  • 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 former chair of the Inland Revenue Sir Nicholas Montagu, working alongside 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. A full list of the commissioners can be found at https://www.ncvo.org.uk/policy-and-research/funding/tax-and-reliefs/charity-tax-commission/
  • The chair of the Charity Tax Commission, Sir Nicholas Montagu, has written a blog about the work of the commission for the NCVO blog. You can read it here.

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