Wikimedia's UK charity application to be re-examined

By Paul Jump, Third Sector Online, 5 June 2009

Organisation responsible for Wikipedia already turned down by HM Revenue & Customs

Wikimedia UK is to have its application for charitable status reconsidered by the Charity Commission after its initial application to HM Revenue & Customs was turned down.

Wikimedia UK is part of a global family of national associations that coordinate contributors to the Wikipedia website, based in the US, and seek permission for other information, such as national archives, to be posted.

It applied for charitable status, under the heading of promoting education, to HMRC because its annual income is currently below the £5,000 threshold for registration with the commission.

But HMRC turned down the application on the grounds that the mere increase of knowledge without teaching or education is not charitable. Andrew Turvey, secretary of Wikimedia UK, said: "Museums and art galleries are recognised as charities; our argument is that what we are doing is analogous to that."

He said HMRC had agreed to pass on Wikimedia's letter of appeal to the Charity Commission for adjudication, even though the organisation does not expect to have an income of £5,000 for another 18 months. Turney said he hoped for a response within a few months.

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