Share facilities to achieve charity status


New rules say private schools can benefit from tax breaks if they share their facilities

Private schools could receive charity status if they allow state school children access to their facilities, says a consultation opened by the Charity Commission.

After the Independent Schools Council criticised the commission’s guidelines on achieving charity status, the guidelines were put up for consultation and have been redrafted to provide what is hoped to be a clearer, more easily applicable guidance document.

The tribunal into the legality of the commission’s guidelines ruled that in order to be seen as operating for the public benefit – a requirement of any charity – trustees of charity schools have a duty to “make provision for the poor” (people who cannot afford to pay the school fees) to benefit.

It has now been clarified that this would include sharing the school’s facilities, including buildings, sports facilities and even teachers, with state schools. This would make the school eligible for tax breaks available to charitable organisations.

The Charity Commission has now launched a three-month consultation on its revised public benefit guidance for all charities.

The revised guidance explains what the public benefit requirement means and sets out what all charity trustees need to know to make sure that they are running their charity for the public benefit.

The commission has changed the way the guidance is presented in a hope to make it easier for trustees to select the parts of the guidance relevant to their charities.

To give your view on the guidance click here.

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