Finance No. 2 Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:45 pm on 18th May 2023.
With this it will be convenient to debate clause 344 stand part.
Clauses 343 and 344 will restrict UK tax reliefs to UK charities and community amateur sports clubs. Having left the EU, it is right that UK taxpayer money should support UK charities and community amateur sports clubs.
The UK is a world leader in the charitable sector. This reflects many factors, including our geography, our connectivity and our recognised legal and regulatory expertise, but also because our tax regime for charities is among the most generous of anywhere in the world. As a result, there is a thriving UK charity sector, which includes numerous charities working across the globe, comprising both UK-based charities and UK branches of international charities.
Charitable tax reliefs in the UK are given in the following areas: income tax; capital gains tax, corporation tax, VAT, inheritance tax, stamp duty, stamp duty land tax, stamp duty reserve tax, annual tax on enveloped dwellings, and diverted profits tax. Additionally, charities and CASCs can also claim gift aid of 25p for every £1 of eligible donations made by UK taxpayers. In 2021-22, UK charitable reliefs were worth £5.5 billion to the sector, up from £4 billion in 2013-14. That has remained strong despite covid-19, with the value of reliefs remaining at about £5.5 billion from 2019-20 until 2021-22.
Before the introduction of that measure, charities based in the EU or European economic area could qualify for UK tax reliefs. Now it is time to take advantage of the UK’s exit from the European Union and to restrict UK tax reliefs so that they are available only to UK charities and community amateur sports clubs. That will protect the integrity of the tax system, as UK charities and community amateur sports clubs that are located outside the UK are harder for HMRC to police.
Clauses 343 and 344 will restrict UK tax reliefs to UK charities and community amateur sports clubs. Importantly, they do not discriminate between UK charities undertaking charitable activity here in the UK or abroad. The key factor is that the charity must be governed by a UK court. The measure took effect from Budget day, but the Government have allowed a short transition period until April 2024 for those charities that HMRC has recognised will be affected by the change. That provides a window for them to register in the UK if they are eligible or, if not, to reformulate their affairs.
The measure will ensure that UK taxpayer money will be used to support UK charities and community amateur sports clubs, and the effective policing of charitable reliefs through HMRC compliance activities. I commend the clauses to the Committee.
As the Minister set out, clauses 343 and 344 introduce a restriction on the availability of tax reliefs so that only UK charities and UK community amateur sports clubs can gain access to UK charity tax reliefs. UK charitable tax reliefs were extended to organisations equivalent to charities and community amateur sports clubs in the EU and in the EEA countries of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein following a judgment of the European Court of Justice in January 2009. Following the UK’s exit from the EU, however, the Government are progressing to restrict UK tax relief to UK charities and community amateur sports clubs. We will not oppose the clauses.