Charities welcome concessions on Community Infrastructure Levy

But amended bill stops short of blanket exemption from land charge

A new land tax being introduced by the Communities and Local Government department will not hit charities as hard as had been feared.

Draft legislation for the Community Infrastructure Levy, which local authorities in England and Wales will be able to charge from April on land earmarked for development, was published on Wednesday.

It shows that the Government has made key concessions to third sector organisations, but stops short of a blanket exemption.

Charities that develop land for charitable purposes or to lease to other charities will be exempt from the charge.

But charities constructing or selling property for profit could still be affected - although local authorities will have discretion to exempt charities completely.

Another exemption will allow charities to build social housing without paying the charge.

The Charity Tax Group had warned that the legislation could have had a catastrophic effect on some charities.

Helen Donoghue, director of the CTG, said the final legislation was "good news, but not as good as we might have hoped for".

She said the group was concerned that applying for exemptions, rather than escaping the levy entirely, would mean more work for charities.

"But it has been an amazing amount of work to win the concessions that we have received," she said. "The final bill looks much better than we feared at one stage."

The legislation still needs to be confirmed by the House of Commons, but is likely to come into force on 6 April.

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