Governance and the charity sector
With instances of poor governance having tarnished the sector as a whole and with public trust in charities now well below its peak of 74% in 2012, can your organisation afford not to apply best practice?
GDPR for charities
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect on 25th of May 2018. If your non-profit organisation has directors, employees, grantors, donors or a means of marketing, you are most definitely subject to the requirements of the GDPR. Compliance with GDPR is not only important in terms of respecting data subject’s rights, or to avoid fines up to €20 million or 4% of the organisation’s annual turnover, but also to maintain the trust of donors, stakeholders and those to whom you provide a service.
The impacts of GDPR for non-profit organisations relate primarily to data held about your service users; your donors; and your staff or volunteers. Each of these groups have different privacy requirements and must be accommodated in your data handling processes and data protection measures.
Making Tax Digital for VAT
The introduction of Making Tax Digital (MTD) makes fundamental changes to the way the UK, including Northern Ireland, tax system works, and represents the biggest change to the VAT compliance rules in decades. From 1 April 2019, most VAT registered organisations with a turnover above the VAT registration threshold (currently £85,000) will be required to:
- submit their VAT return data digitally using software compatible with HMRC’s Application Programming Interface (API) platform
- maintain digital records and a digital VAT account
“Our objective should be to no longer need to exist.”
Should every charity aim to be unnecessary? This bold and thought-provoking idea is often debated in the charity sector and came up again in discussion with a charity leader for this report. The principle behind it is simple. If a charity succeeds in achieving its mission, there will be nothing left for it to do.
Whether you agree with the statement or not, it emphasises the importance of charities measuring their impact effectively. Because impact is a measure of whether charities are implementing their strategy successfully and advancing their mission. Put simply, impact measurement can no longer be viewed as ‘nice-to-have’. Existing just to continue existing cannot be the future for charities.
UK Budget 2018 – Not for Profits
For charities, measures have been introduced to reduce the administrative burden they face. From April 2019, new measures will increase the upper limit for trading that charities can carry out without facing a corporation tax liability from £5k to £8k, where turnover is less than £20k, and from £50k to £80k where turnover exceeds £200k. With regards to Gift Aid, the individual donation limit under the Gift Aid Small Donation Scheme has been increased to £30, which applies to small collections where it is impractical to obtain a Gift Aid declaration. Also, there are new measures to allow charity shops using the Retail Gift Aid Scheme to send letters to donors every three years when their goods raise less than £20 a year, rather than every tax year.
Budget 2019 – Not for Profits
Budget 2019 has come and gone with no major shocks or surprises, with all major initiatives and policy changes flagged in advance. The 9% rate has been retained for newspapers and sporting facilities.
Increased spending to attempt to tackle the homeless crisis was also announced. €146 million in funding (an increase of €30 million) was allocated to support emergency homeless services. Funding of €1.25 billion was announced with the aim of delivering 10,000 council houses through build, acquisition and long term leasing programmes. A further 17,400 individuals and families in need of accommodation will get private rented accommodation through the HAP and RAS rental schemes. €310 million has been provided to fund subsidised homes, which will offer up to a 40% discount on the purchase price of new homes. This initiative aims to provide a minimum of 6,000 homes through to 2021. The scheme applies to new homes, for single people earning up to €50,000 and couples earning up to €75,000.
There was good news for carers, with the Home Carer Credit increasing by €300 to €1,500, while an extra 2 weeks of paid parental leave in a child’s first year has been provided.
Overall the not for profit sector may feel left out in this Budget, with issues such as the cost of new compliance requirements and the ever increasing cost of insurance not