The 2014 Autumn Statement brought good news for charities in the form of VAT rebates and business rate discounts and reduced NI bills for apprentices. Read on to find out more about the best bits.
VAT rebate scheme for Hospices, search and rescue and air ambulance charities:
The headline act was the announcement of an extension to the VAT rebate schemes available to hospice, search and rescue and air ambulance charities. This is great news as it will allow such charities to claim a VAT refund on purchases such as equipment and fuel.
Hospice and search and rescue charities have been campaigning for this change since 2011 and the measures will commence in April 2015, levelling the playing field significantly. NHS and government agencies which provide similar services have always been entitled to claim such VAT rebates and in his Autumn Statement speech George Osborne said: “Our hospice charities make an enormous contribution to our communities. They have long been subject to unfair rules that force them to pay VAT, when the NHS does not. I am today refunding the VAT that these hospice charities incur.”
More money for military charities:
The government has committed a further £50 million of LIBOR fines over the next 6 years to support military charities. Libor money will also be used to buy new helicopters for Great Western Air Ambulance, and Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance.
Church roof repair fund
£15 million has been set aside as a one-off pot for the repair of roofs and rainwater goods on listed church buildings. Grants of between £10,000 and £15,000 will be available to listed places of worship of all faiths and denominations where repairs are considered to be urgent. The deadline for applications is 30 January 2015.
Business Rates Reform:
Business rate relief is one of the most valuable tax reliefs available to charities as it provides a mandatory reduction of 80% of business rates. Charities will therefore be keeping a close eye on the review of business rates announced in the autumn statement. The report is due to be ready in time for the 2016 Budget.
Although there has been reassurance from the Treasury that existing charity reliefs are not being questioned, charities and charity representatives will be keeping a keen eye on the review.