Charity Commission opens statutory inquiry into charity over business rates

The regulator is investigating decisions taken by the trustees of the Manchester-registered Life Foundation Trust, which is now in liquidation

Charity Commission
Charity Commission

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into a charity in connection with its liability for business rates, the fifth time it has done so.

The commission announced today that it had opened an inquiry into the Manchester-registered Life Foundation Trust on 3 June. It has opened similar inquiries into four other charities in the past.

LFT, which is in liquidation, has objects including the promotion of education and the advancement of health, and registered with the commission on 1 June 2012.

The regulator said in a statement that it was "investigating concerns about the trustees’ decisions to enter into agreements by the charity to occupy vacant commercial premises, resulting in the charity becoming potentially liable for the payment of significant business rates".

The inquiry will examine whether the trustees have fulfilled their legal duties and whether there was any mismanagement or misconduct, the statement said.

The charity’s accounts for the year to 28 February 2013 have not been filed, making them nearly six months overdue.

Last month, the Augustine Housing Trust appealed against the regulator’s decision to open a statutory inquiry into issues involving business rates.

In 2013, it opened similar inquiries into the Africa Relief Trust, the Kenya Aid Programme and the Public Safety Charitable Trust, which was wound up in the High Court later that year.

In between opening that trio of inquiries last month, the commission also issued an alert to charities warning them of the risks associated with business rates relief.

LFT, whose website displays the statement "Good bye, and thank you! All of our activities have been closed", could not be contacted.

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