Bid to ease cross-border donations

Four voluntary sector bodies are running a joint campaign to make it easier for people to donate to charities in other countries.

The Charities Aid Foundation, the Charity Tax Group, Acevo's international Euclid Network and the European Charities' Committee on VAT have joined forces to lobby the UK, Ireland and Belgium to give the same tax relief on donations to European charities as they do on domestic donations.

The three countries are resisting demands from the European Commission to do so (Third Sector, 28 November 2007).

"The ability to give to charitable organisations overseas is of growing importance to donors, but the complex and varied legal and tax structures mean cross-border giving is not always simple or tax-efficient," said Hannah Terrey, policy officer at CAF.

She said it was too early to give any more details about what else the coalition would do to make it easier for people to give to charities abroad.

A Treasury spokesman said the department was working with other European member states on greater coordination. "Our concern is that it works," he said. He said he did not expect the UK to be prosecuted in the European Court.

Simon Weil, partner at charity law firm Bircham Dyson Bell, said: "The UK is in the wrong, but the deadline for compliance has long since passed and there doesn't seem to be the appetite for a fight."

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