Sector Urges Give and Take to Stop 'Charity-Tax' Policy Deterring Donors

By Matthews, David | The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE, April 19, 2012 | Go to article overview

Sector Urges Give and Take to Stop 'Charity-Tax' Policy Deterring Donors


Matthews, David, The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE


Group says philanthropists are already shutting their chequebooks. David Matthews writes.

Big donors to universities are already being put off by the "charity- tax" row and institutions need clarity urgently, according to the executive director of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education in Europe.

Kate Hunter co-signed a letter sent to George Osborne, the chancellor, at the end of March, which warned that universities could be among the worst hit by plans to curb tax relief on charitable gifts because they attract a disproportionate amount of large donations.

The changes, which would come into effect from April 2013, cap the amount of tax relief that philanthropists can claim from their donations at Pounds 50,000 or 25 per cent of their income, whichever is higher.

Ms Hunter, who signed the letter alongside Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, said: "The longer this goes on, the more uncertainty it causes."

To judge from a recent Case event, philanthropists have been unsettled by the Treasury plans and are already expressing doubts about donating next year, she said.

The Financial Times reported early this week that the Treasury was considering alternative plans, such as raising the tax-relief limit on charitable donations to half of a person's income or allowing donors to roll over the relief to subsequent years.

Ms Hunter said that the charities sector, along with Case, was still lobbying to keep the status quo of no cap.

"The worry about all (the alternative proposals) is (that they) make tax quite complicated if you're asking for gifts," she said. …

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