NCVO comment on PAC reports on Charity Commission and Gift Aid

NCVO has commented on the public accounts committee reports on the Charity Commission and Gift Aid.

Sir Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said:

Charity Commission

'The approach the Charity Commission took to regulation in recent years risked harming the reputation of charitable status. The Commission has to be an effective regulator in order to maintain the public's trust in charities. Although cases of abuse are rare, in the past the Commission has been too slow to act when they do arise. We are pleased it is now making moves in the right direction. It has started taking firmer action and is seeking to enhance its legal powers. The Charity Commission still has significant work to do in order to restore its reputation but we could not do without its specialist role. I welcome the public accounts committee's plan to review the Commission again in a year and I hope it will be able to demonstrate that it is continuing to improve.'

Gift Aid

'Gift Aid and tax reliefs are a vital part of the charity sector's funding. We need to have a system in place which both maximises the value of donations and commands public confidence. While more research into the impact of Gift Aid and  other tax reliefs on donors behaviour would be helpful, we must remember the important principle behind these reliefs is that people should not be taxed on money which they give to charities to use for public benefit.

'I hope HMRC will take on board the recommendations made in the report. We strongly support efforts to tackle the abuse of tax reliefs and believe better information sharing between HMRC and the Charity Commission is an important part of improving enforcement in this area.'

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