Charity Tax Commission

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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 is being chaired by Sir Nicholas Montagu, a former chair of the Inland Revenue, who is joined by a board of six commissioners with extensive charity, economic and fiscal expertise. NCVO is providing secretariat support for the commission.

We took evidence over a 16 week consultation period that ended in July, and are now considering the responses. If you have any questions regarding this please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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 are estimated to be worth £3.77bn a year, including; business rates relief, Gift Aid and VAT relief, while reliefs for individuals are worth £1.47bn. 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

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.

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 Communications, 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 help ensure the work of the commission is informed by a broad range of views, experience and expertise, we’ve set up two groups that will be supporting its work – an advisory group of individuals with expertise in taxation and finance issues, and a reference group of senior people from across the voluntary sector who will provide sector-specific insight.

Advisory group

  • John Whiting CBE, non-executive director at HMRC and board member of Revenue Scotland
  • Peter Fanning, chief executive at the Chartered Institute of Taxation
  • Carl Emmerson, deputy director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies
  • John Hemming, chair of the Charity Tax Group and head of tax at Wellcome Trust 
  • Kimberley Scharf, professor of economics at University of Birmingham
  • Alana Petraske, secretary of the Charity Law Association
  • Sarah Smith, professor of economics at the University of Bristol
  • Dr Beth Breeze, director of the Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Kent
  • William Perrin, trustee of 360 Giving
  • Mrunal Sisodia, co-chair of National Network of Parent Carer Forums
  • Warwick Lightfoot, director of research and head of economics and social policy at Policy Exchange
  • Caron Bradshaw, chief executive of Charity Finance Group 
  • Adam Corlett, senior economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation

Reference group

  • Judith Miller, partner at Sayer Vincent and trustee of the Small Charities Coalition
  • Sir John Low CBE, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation
  • Carol Mack, chief executive of the Association of Charitable Foundations
  • Robin Osterley, chief executive of the Charity Retail Association
  • Peter Lewis, chief executive of the Institute for Fundraising
  • Paul Streets OBE, chief executive of the Lloyds Bank Foundation
  • Simon Bowkett, chief executive of Exeter CVS
  • Emma Boggis, chief executive of the Sport and Recreation Alliance
  • Mark Wood Walbrook chair of NSPCC
  • Seamus McAleavey, chief executive of NICVA
  • Rob Williamson, chief executive of Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland
  • Cliff Prior CBE, chief executive of Big Society Capital
  • Jane Ide, chief executive of NAVCA
  • Ruth Marks, chief executive of WCVA
  • Vicky Browning, chief executive of Acevo
  • Sabira Kanji, director of corporate services and finance at SEUK

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