Charity compliance update July 2017

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Jen Gerrard of Gerrard Financial Consulting rounds-up the latest news and consultation from world of charity compliance.

Fundraising Preference Service launches

The Fundraising Regulator launched their Fundraising Preference Service on 6 July 2017.

A member of the public can now visit the Regulator’s website and submit a request to cease communication from specific charity/charities of their choice. More vulnerable members of the public, or for those without access to the internet, can call 0300 3033 517

Charities with an annual fundraising spend exceeding £100,000 should already have registered themselves on the system. Charities spending less that £100,000 per year on fundraising do not need to be set up on the service. If a suppression request is submitted to the Regulator, they will contact the charity using the email registered with the Charity Commission. 

Here are a couple of handy links to some updated FAQs regarding the service:

Charity Finance Group – Small Charities Financial Capability Survey 2017

The Charity Finance Group (CFG) has launched a survey, supported by the Charity Commission for England and Wales, to find out more about the financial capability needs of small charities.

The survey is open to all trustees and staff responsible for any form of financial management in charities with an annual turnover of less than £1.5m. The closing date for the survey is 25 August. It should not take more than 5 minutes to complete, and respondents may remain anonymous if they wish.

You or your clients can access the survey here.

HMRC – charitable donations and tax relief statistics

HMRC has published statistics relating to the repayment of tax, gift aid and payroll giving for the 2016-17 tax year.

  • The total amount of tax relief claimed by charities is estimated to be £50m less than 2015-16
  • Gift Aid claimed by charities, rose from £1.26bn in 2015/16 to £1.27bn.

The Charity Tax group has also responded to the Office of Tax Simplification’s recent interim report around VAT reform. See here for a summary and access to the full response.

OSCR charity registration logos

Scottish charities registered with the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) should be mindful of the legal requirement to promote charitable status to the public. This is set out in section 15 of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005.

With one eye on compliance and one on supporting the Sector, OSCR have developed a free of charge charity registration logo. The logo, which contains an individual charity’s OSCR registration number, can be downloaded and utilised on the charity’s website, email signatures and publications (including hard copy).

Read more here around the guidelines for use.

OSCR Head of Engagement Jude Turbyne said: “Aside from the legal requirement, it is good practice and good sense to show the public that an organisation is a charity. It demonstrates transparency, encourages goodwill, inspires public trust and confidence and, hopefully, encourages more donations.

“This free resource will allow Scottish Charities to do just that. We’ve made the process of downloading a charity’s registration logo simple and straightforward, so please get yours today.

“Please spread the word to other charity colleagues.  We want as many charities to know about this resource as possible”

OSCR blog watch

In other news from the Scottish Regulator:

Consultations round-up

Here’s our monthly round-up of (and links to) key consultation opportunities and those closed, pending feedback.

The following consultations are currently open and inviting responses:

  • Charity Tax Group – Potential new Welsh taxes - opened 5 July 2017. The Welsh Government Finance Secretary will suggest that taxation could be used to change behaviours or to discourage activity which has negative social impacts. Email [email protected] to get involved.
  • Charity Commission for Northern Ireland - The Commission has a public consultation open on its draft Serious incident reporting guidance, which will close at 5pm on Friday 21 July 2017. Take part via an online survey or postal form – links to which are available here.

The following consultations are closed with feedback analysis pending – watch this space for an update in future briefings:

  • Charity Commission for England and Wales:

o    Updating the framework for independent examination - closed on 30 September 2016 but was intended to apply to accounting periods ending on or after 31 March 2017.

o    Reporting serious incidents in charities - closed on 12 January 2017.

o    The use and promotion of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM): making decisions about charitable status – closed on 19 May 2017. This consultation is about the Commission’s approach to deciding whether an organisation which uses or promotes CAM therapies is a charity.

Consultation responses have been published from the following since last month’s round-up:

  • Charity Tax Group – originally launched 10 May 2017, seeking views on potential exemptions within the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation. The EU’s GDPR regulations will come into force in the UK from 25 May 2018.  For the CTG’s full response see here.

The Information Commissioner’s office has also published a helpful ’12 steps to take now’ document, in order to prepare for the regulations coming in to effect.

About Jen Gerrard

Jen Gerrard

Jen is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA) and the founder and managing director of Gerrard Financial Consulting, a specialist accounting firm for the charitable sector. She has over 17 years’ experience working in accounting and finance and has also worked as an accountancy tutor for a leading training provider.

Jen has been a trustee of the Southville Community Development Association (2014 to 2017), Self Injury Self Help (SISH) (2013-2016), the Oswestry Food & Drink Festival and Impact AAS (2007 to 2010). In addition to being a current Trustee of Women’s Aid Federation of England, Jen has been a registered volunteer with Volunteer Bristol for four years and is a Member of the ICAEW Charity & Voluntary Sector Specialist Group.

Jen sits on the South West & Wales Regional Engagement Forum of the Charity Finance Group and makes regular contributions to articles in national publications – most recently AccountingWEB and Charity Finance Focus (produced by the CFG). She is also a regular speaker on charity finance and governance matters.

Her firm is a corporate member of the Charity Finance Group and was shortlisted in two categories for the AccountingWEB Practice Excellence Awards 2016. This is in recognition of the company’s innovative work with charities and NFPs to streamline their finance functions through adoption of new technology.

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