Charity Tax Consultation – Don’t charge Charities for their own regulation!

It has been confirmed this month that the UK’s regulatory body for Charities, The Charity Commission, is to consult with members over whether or not to ‘tax’ charities in order to fund their work.

This announcement, made this month in Southampton, has not made national headlines. For many it is an issue they know nothing about but it is an issue that here at Voluntary Action North Lincolnshire we are passionate about supporting charities, especially our members in North Lincolnshire who are working in deprived areas and in challenging circumstances.

At a time when funding is particularly hard to achieve, and when volunteers are often giving financially as well as their valuable time to sustain their organisations, the idea that the neutral regulator for the sector will levy a tax on the sector to pay for its neutral work does not make any sense to those representing the interests of the sector.

Neil Cleeveley, Chief Executive of NAVCA, the body which represents the Voluntary and Community Sector nationally, and to whom VANL are affiliated, said;

“We are totally opposed to an annual charge. It would be an extra cost that charities could not avoid, in affect a tax on charities.”

“We are disappointed that the Commission continues to push charging as the answer to their funding issues. We appreciate the Commission’s work and its excellent staff but charging is not in anyone’s interest, especially the public who give so much time and money to charitable causes.”

“The Commission are being disingenuous in the way they are approaching this issue. I feel for sure the figures of up to £265 for small charities are deliberately unpalatable. They are setting up the consultation in a way that will allow them to say they have listened and then impose a lower charge. Probably the charge they had in mind in the first place.”

“The Commission should forget about imposing this charity tax and instead work with charities to explain to Government why it is so important to fund a strong independent regulator.”

In fact it is not just NAVCA and the sector who are critical of the proposed charges. The Public Accounts Select Committee were very critical of this idea when they examined it in 2012, calling it a “tax on charities”. They said it would be “block on the creation of new charities and the dynamism and charitable spirit of the volunteers working hard in their communities.”

We will be publishing more information about this consultation when we receive it on our website www.vanl.org.uk, and circulating information to the sector locally, but in the meantime we would urge all involve in the charitable sector in North Lincolnshire to consider the matter and consider making a response to the Consultatio