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As an example of the information that LMSC subscribers receive we have listed 3 sample articles, chosen at random, from our recent archive.

Good charity governance seminars

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI) has announced that, in association with the Developing Governance Group, it will be participating in a series of free seminars taking place across Northern Ireland, focusing on good governance and charity regulation.

The seminars will look at core areas such as annual reporting, trustee annual reports and public benefit reporting, matters of material significance and serious incident reporting. The CCNI will also use the events to raise awareness of its updated fundraising guidance, providing advice and information on topics including the new regulatory framework for fundraising, charity trustee responsibilities around safeguarding and the importance of preparing for the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will come into operation from 25 May 2018.

Article information

  • Date: 22 March 2018 (Posted: 22 March 2018)

Of additional interest:

    Local Government Finance Bill resumes

    The Local Government Finance Bill – which was carried over from the previous parliamentary session – has completed its passage through the Commons. The Bill will enable councils to keep 50 per cent of their business rates. Concerns have been raised about any possible relationship between the proposal on non-domestic rates and the mandatory and discretionary charity reliefs. Our understanding is that there is no necessary connexion between the two issues.

    The Government’s original consultation document (July 2011) about the proposal to allow local authorities to retain a proportion of the business rates collected in their area said this:

    “The business rates system currently contains a number of mandatory reliefs (such as for empty properties and charities) and discretionary reliefs (such as for not for profit organisations) which reduce the liability of the ratepayer. The Government believes that ratepayers should be able to rely on the certainty and consistency that a national standard of reliefs provides and that therefore the current system of reliefs should be maintained. There will be no changes to the current system of reliefs, including eligibility.”

    We have seen nothing to suggest that the Government is thinking any differently now. We assume that the charity relief continues to be governed by s 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 as amended by section 69 of the Localism Act 2011. The effect of that amendment was that local authorities, when considering granting discretionary non-domestic rate relief in respect of property used for charitable purposes, would in future have to “have regard to the interests of persons liable to pay council tax” in the local authority’s area. When the Localism Bill was going through the Lords, the the Minister in charge, Lord Shutt, gave an assurance that the amendments made by the Bill to s 47 of the LGFA 1988 would not affect charities’ mandatory relief: the words he used were “no change”.

    There will be another Government consultation, promised “in the summer”, about the treatment of (among other things) mandatory and discretionary reliefs in the way that a local authority’s “income” is defined. We will be looking carefully at that consultation. We expect it to be consistent with the Government’s earlier statement about maintaining the existing system of reliefs – but watch this space.

    Article information

    • Date: 23 May 2012 (Posted: 23 May 2012)

    Of additional interest:

      Upper Tribunal finds the cultural services exemption had direct effect

      On 12 August 2014, the Upper Tribunal released its decision in the appeal by HMRC against the First Tier Tribunal decision British Film Institute v HM Revenue and Customs which concerned whether Article 13A(1)(n) of the Sixth Directive (the cultural services exemption) had direct effect between 1 January 1990 and 31 May 1996 (the claim period).

      In summary the Upper Tribunal found that this relevant provision of EU law granting exemption for cultural services had direct effect and applied to all cultural services, thereby highlighting a potential failing (and opportunity) in relation to the UK's implementation of the cultural services exemption.

      The taxpayer, a non-profit-making body and a registered charity, ran the National Film Theatre. During the claim period, the taxpayer accounted for VAT on the sale of tickets for admission to screenings of films at the National Film Theatre and at various film festivals. In March 2009, the taxpayer submitted a Fleming claim for repayment of overpaid VAT. The basis of the taxpayer's claim was that its supplies of the right of admission to films during the claim period were cultural services and exempt under Article 13A(1)(n). Although UK domestic legislation did not provide exemption for cultural services during the claim period (as Group 13 of Schedule 9 to the VAT Act 1994 was only introduced with effect from 1 June 1996), the taxpayer contended that Article 13A(1)(n) (which was in force at the relevant time) had direct effect, its provisions being unconditional and sufficiently precise. HMRC rejected the taxpayer's claim.

      The First Tier Tribunal decided that Article 13A(1)(n) had direct effect during the claim period. In doing so, the First Tier Tribunal rejected HMRC’s submission that the provision gave Member States discretion not to exempt some cultural services. Accordingly, the taxpayer's supplies of the right of admission to cinemas in the claim period were exempt supplies for VAT purposes without the need for any national implementing legislation. LMSC's analysis of the decision can be found at http://www.lmsconline.org/pages/article.aspx?articleID=4848

      Before the Upper Tribunal, it was not disputed that admission to a cinema or other venue showing films was a cultural service for the purposes of Article 13A(1)(n). It was also agreed that the taxpayer was a body governed by public law within the meaning of Article 13A(1)(n). Thus, the only issue in this appeal was whether, as the First Tier Tribunal held, the terms of Article 13A(1)(n) were sufficiently clear and precise for it to have direct effect, and not such as to permit Member States any latitude or discretion in its application. In this regard, the Upper Tribunal agreed with the First Tier Tribunal that Article 13A(1)(n) did have direct effect during the claim period. It was sufficiently clear and precise, and it did not allow Member States any substantial latitude or discretion in applying it. Appeal dismissed (i.e. the taxpayer's supplies were VAT exempt).

      If, as both Tribunals concluded, Article 13A(1)(n) (now Article 132(1)((n) of the VAT Directive) has direct effect, then Group 13 of Schedule 9 to the VAT Act 1994, which only exempts some cultural services and therefore contains limitations (including the omission of cinemas), is arguably in breach of EU law. This decision may be of interest to any eligible bodies which supply cultural services, but have been denied exemption by HMRC on the ground that the services in question are not listed in Group 13.

      Article information

      • Date: 29 August 2014 (Posted: 29 August 2014)

      Of additional interest:

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