Clause 96 - Gifts of real property to charity

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:45 pm on 13th June 2002.

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Photo of John Healey John Healey The Economic Secretary to the Treasury 3:45 pm, 13th June 2002

I am sure that you would not wish me to be drawn into speculation about the development of the European Union, Mr. Gale. I was interested to hear the case that the hon. Gentleman was looking to put for the amendment, the essence of which seems to be, ''This is a logical extension, so why not?'' The principal reason why not is that extending the relief to property situated anywhere in the world would make it complicated to administer and virtually impossible to police.

Limiting relief to properties in the UK means that a UK charity accepting a gift, which needs a certificate of acceptance, can readily access a property to ensure that it is suitable for its purposes. The certificate is an important protection for charities to prevent unwanted properties from being gifted to them. The Inland Revenue can also, in most cases, easily confirm a donor's interest in a property and agree a valuation for the purposes of the donor's relief.

It is not hard to foresee the problems that would be caused by properties that could be anywhere in the world. If the relief were extended to include non-UK properties, charities would be faced with taking decisions on whether to accept a property with little or no first-hand knowledge of its utility. The Inland Revenue would find it difficult to confirm whether a donor's interest in a property under foreign law met the requirements for the relief, and it could be extremely difficult to agree a value for a property. The relief, as it stands, is relatively simple for donors, charities and the Inland Revenue. Amendment No. 98 would only complicate that, and I urge the Committee to reject it if it is pressed to a vote.