Autumn Statement 2013 in regard to the VCS

The government has pledged to set up a new working group to revise the model gift aid declaration and develop new marketing collateral to try to increase take-up of the tax relief by donors, as part of its Autumn Statement.

In the report, which accompanied the Chancellor’s speech on Thursday 5 December, the government said it wanted as many eligible donations as possible to attract gift aid, and so it will allow intermediaries to play a greater role in operating gift aid in order to reduce the number of instances where a new declaration has to be given. However, it will consult the sector further on this before changing the law.

The government also said it would tighten the laws around the definition of charity to ensure that operators of tax avoidance schemes cannot claim charitable reliefs.

The government also promised to introduce a discount of up to £1,000 on business rates for retail premises including charity shops with a rateable value of up to £50,000, for the next two years. 

There will also be a two percent cap on business rates increases for all non-domestic rateable premises from April 2014, and a 50 percent discount on rates bills for all businesses occupying empty premises. The government will discuss options for longer-term administrative reform of business rates post-2017.

The government also committed to introduce a new IT system that will allow organisations to apply for charity registration and charitable tax reliefs, through a single website, instead of having to apply separately to the Charity Commission and HMRC.

In other announcements in the Autumn Statement, the government promised to:

  • Make company donations to community amateur sports clubs eligible for gift aid from April next year;
  • Bring in new legislation to make it clear that charities can benefit from partial relief from stamp duty land tax if they buy property with a non-charity. Once the Finance Bill receives Royal Assent, charities will be able to claim relief on their proportion of the purchase price;
  • Amend the Cultural Gifts Scheme to cover estate duty, and
  • Empower Work Programme advisers to force claimants of Job Seeker’s Allowance to work full-time for six months for a local charity.