Government must avoid 'nasty surprises' in Budget, says Charity Finance Group

Unique structure of charities is too often overlooked in policy and Budget process, says chief executive Caron Bradshaw

Caron Bradshaw
Caron Bradshaw

The government should closely examine tax and spending decisions to avoid "nasty surprises" for the voluntary sector when it announces this year’s Budget next month, the Charity Finance Group has warned.

In its Budget submission, the CFG calls on the government to "meet the sector halfway" on several issues. These include putting legislation in place that would enable donors to make Gift Aid declarations for specific digital giving platforms but also allow charities to make Gift Aid claims on related donations.

It also asks the government to carry out reviews of the tax landscape for social investment using an external reviewer and to significantly raise the level of non-primary purpose trading that charities can do without having to have a subsidiary.

The CFG calls for changes to irrecoverable VAT for charities to "level the playing field" with the public sector.

The submission asks that the government ensures it consults the voluntary sector when making changes to VAT rules in order to avoid "irreversible damage" to charities, such as the removal of the zero-rating on alterations made to listed buildings that was announced in last year’s Budget.

Caron Bradshaw, chief executive of the CFG, said: "Learning from 2012, government should closely examine tax and spending decisions in advance of the Budget for the impact they might have on charities, so there are no nasty surprises this year.

"Charities and their unique structure are too often overlooked in the policy and budget process."

The submission reiterates calls for an extension of the transitional period for the implementation of Charities Online, which will enable charities to file Gift Aid claims online – from six months to a year.

It also calls for a simplification of the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme, which will allow charities to claim a Gift Aid-like payment on small donations without individual paperwork, up to a total of £5,000 a year.

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