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Charity Bulletin: December 2016

01/12/2016

Lodders’ Charity Law expert Mark Lewis provides updates on recent changes to Charity Law and offers an insight into how this could affect you.

HMRC to grant charities a ‘soft landing’ in Common Reporting Standard compliance

HMRC had published new guidance to reassure charities and their trustees that will support them in understanding the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) rules that were introduced on 1 January 2016 to prevent tax evasion. The rules require financial institutions (such as charities) that are ‘investment entities’ to carry out due diligence and report on grant recipients under the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) regime. The first CRS reports under AEOI must be filed by 31 May 2017. Read more

Charity Commission’s approach to new powers criticised

Third sector organisations have criticised the Charity Commission’s proposed approach to the new power to disqualify trustees, outlined in a policy paper published earlier this year. The power to disqualify will become effective on 1 October 2016. Read more about the response to the policy paper here and for more information about the draft guidance, please click here.

Charities Outreach Team reveals top tax relief claims mistakes

The most common mistakes made by charities that applied for tax relief have been revealed by the Charities Outreach Team. Around 10,000 claims for relief were delayed due to mistakes made by charities in their applications for relief. The top mistake made by charities was naming the wrong person on their claim form. Read more

One in four are unaware they are using charity services

The vast majority (98%) of the UK population have used services provided by charities, ranging from visiting a community centre run by a charitable organisation to receiving counselling from a mental health charity, according to a report based on research by the Charities Aid Foundation. However almost a quarter (23%) of people are not aware that services they have used were actually run by charities. One third of people aged 18 to 24 were unaware that a service they had used was provided by a charity, in comparison to 17% of people aged over 55. The report recommends that charities do more to promote their charitable status to service users to increase awareness of and support for the work that they do. Read more about the survey here.

Fundraising Regulator confirms levy structure

The Fundraising Regulator has confirmed the details of its new levy regime, which came into force on 1 September 2016. The levy applies to charities that spend £100,000 or more on fundraising each year. Smaller charities that are outside the scope of the levy regime can register with the Fundraising Regulator on a voluntary basis for £50 per year to demonstrate their commitment to good fundraising practice. The Regulator has also published further details of its Fundraising Preference Service, which will allow members of the public to opt out of fundraising communications from charities that are subject to the levy. The Fundraising Preference Service is due to be introduced in 2017. To find out more about the new levy regime, click here.

Law Commission consults on changing purposes

The Law Commission is consulting on its proposals to enable incorporated charities to convert to ‘trust corporation’ status more easily. Incorporated charities that hold land in charitable trust must have trust corporation status before they are able to sell this land. However, incorporated charities have argued that converting to trust corporation status is complex, time-consuming and expensive. As a result, the Law Commission has proposed to make it easier for incorporated charities to change their status. Read more

New guidance for charities on legal proceedings

The Charity Commission for England and Wales has issued new guidance for charity trustees about taking and defending legal proceedings. The guidance clarifies the issues that trustees should consider when faced with litigation and helps them comply with their legal obligations, as well as their duty to act in the best interests of their charity. The guidance sets out some guiding principles that trustees should consider with regard to any legal proceedings, such as what the financial implications may be or whether it is in the best interest of the charity. Read more

Charities urged to manage financial risks

Charity trustees that take early action to identify and manage financial risks will secure better outcomes for their charities and beneficiaries. This is according to two reports published by the Charity Commission for England and Wales. The reports have revealed that the financial outlook for the charity sector remains challenging and has urged trustees to stay alert to financial risks. The reports outline the different options that trustees should explore to achieve positive outcomes despite their financial difficulties, including mergers and collaborations. The reports also include a number of case studies that demonstrate the early steps trustees can take to address and manage financial difficulties, as well as to minimise the risk to their beneficiaries. Read more

Get in Touch

There is much going on in the charity sector and plenty for trustees and senior management teams to consider. For help or advice please contact Mark Lewis on 01789 206135 or mark.lewis@lodders.co.uk

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