Cup Trust granted hearing in the charity tribunal

Tax-avoidance vehicle is appealing against the Charity Commission's decision to launch a statutory inquiry and appoint an interim manager

Charity tribunal
Charity tribunal

The corporate trustee of the tax-avoidance vehicle the Cup Trust has been granted a charity tribunal hearing in September for its appeal against the Charity Commission's decision to launch a statutory inquiry and appoint an interim manager to run the charity.

Mountstar PTC, a company based in the British Virgin Islands, is the corporate trustee of the Cup Trust, which received £176.5m in private donations over two years, but spent just £55,000 on good causes in that time. Accounts show that over the two years it spent £176.37m on buying government bonds but later sold most or all of these bonds for just £17,000.

The trust made Gift Aid claims worth more than £46m and donors paying the highest rate of tax might also have been able to claim back 37.5 per cent of the value of their own donations in Gift Aid – potentially another £66m.

The commission said on 1 May that it had opened an inquiry into the charity on 12 April after it had been given further information by HM Revenue & Customs.

Mountstar then appealed to the charity tribunal against the decision. On 22 July, both sides took part in a telephone conference call to consider directions and a date for the appeal hearing.

A spokeswoman for the commission said an oral hearing would take place on 10 and 11 September.

According to directions from the tribunal dated 24 July, the commission and Mountstar will be able to "jointly instruct an expert to prepare and file a report describing the mechanics of HM Revenue & Customs’ Gift Aid scheme".

Witness statements will serve as "evidence in chief" at the hearing, the directions say, and both parties must provide witness statements to each other no later than three weeks before the hearing.

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