Share

'Tax before charity' debate will return, Bowcock warns

Matthew Bowcock, chair, Community Foundation Network
News

'Tax before charity' debate will return, Bowcock warns

Fundraising | Tania Mason | 9 Jul 2012

The sector would be naïve to assume that the government will not revisit the prospect of limiting tax relief on charitable giving just because the Chancellor u-turned on the latest proposal, the chair of Community Foundation Networks has warned.

In a discussion paper titled Lessons from the ‘charity tax’, Matthew Bowcock states that the debate around the tax relief cap highlighted some important issues that have still not been resolved, or even properly examined.

He wrote: “It would be naïve to assume that because the Chancellor has withdrawn the current proposal, tax relief for charitable giving will not be questioned again in the future, as there remain two conflicting fairness principles.

“On the one hand, Treasury and HMRC argue that everyone should pay a fair share of tax and you should not be able to hypothecate their taxes; on the other hand, charities argue that you should not be taxed on what is not yours as you have given it away to society. These two principles are not easily reconciled.”

Not enough evidence about giving

Bowcock also says that the debacle has exposed the lack of adequate data on giving.  “Apart from the NCVO and Coutts Million Pound Donor annual reports, there is virtually no information available on the proportion of higher-rate taxpayers that give, how much they give and to which causes.

“HM Treasury … observed that the charity sector;s estimates of the potential impact did not square with their figures. This may be because Treausry was also working from crude data.”  Better data could have led to better understanding of the impact and stopped the proposal from ever seeing the light of day, he suggests.

He points out that accurate data on tax reliefs for giving does exist in HMRC computer systems and it should be possible for it to extract this for public consumption, so that everyone could be better informed about the substance of proposed changes rather than arguing over estimates of impact.

Philanthropists shoud expect more scrutiny and be prepared

Bowcock concludes by warning philanthropists that they should now expect to come under increasing scrutiny and pressure to justify the public benefits that their giving delivers in return for tax reliefs.

“In any future debate philanthropy must find better ways to argue its value by presenting the benefits that it brings to society.  Evidence needs to go beyond quantifying the amount of giving…and include the economic and quantifiable social value delivered by philanthropic investments in projects.

“Only then will the true value of independent philanthropy be appreciated and its role established in Britain’s culture.”

Click here to read the full paper.

 

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

Golden Lane Housing: Social investment can be 'absolutely the right thing' to do

24 Oct 2014

The director of Golden Lane Housing, the issuer of the first charity bond to be listed on the London Stock...

BeatBullying's technology CIC has not filed accounts with Companies House

22 Oct 2014

A software community interest company set up by the BeatBullying Group in 2012 is almost a year late filing...

Charity Commission to get £9m funding boost and new powers to tackle tax avoidance and terrorism

22 Oct 2014

The Charity Commission will receive £9m of extra funding over the next three years, as well as new powers...

Demonstrate effectiveness or risk losing public trust, charities told

24 Oct 2014

Charities must demonstrate their effectiveness better to the public or face losing trust, David McCullough,...

Volunteers no longer happy to 'do what they are told', says report

24 Oct 2014

Volunteers now expect more from their experience and charities must do more to recruit and retain them,...

Relationship between government and charity 'has lost its way', says Nandy

23 Oct 2014

There needs to be a rebalancing of the relationship between the voluntary sector and government, shadow...

BeatBullying's technology CIC has not filed accounts with Companies House

22 Oct 2014

A software community interest company set up by the BeatBullying Group in 2012 is almost a year late filing...

Blackbaud launches online giving platform for individual fundraisers

17 Oct 2014

Blackbaud has launched its online giving platform, everydayhero, for fundraisers in the UK in a bid to...

Don't dismiss social media 'slacktivists', fundraisers told at IFC

16 Oct 2014

Charities should embrace and love charity ‘slacktivists’ because social is a great ramp for new donors,...

Join the discussion

Twitter button

@CSFundraising