Client Spotlight – Crisis

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Client Spotlight – Crisis

Crisis was formed in 1967, as an urgent response to the growing homelessness crisis. Since then they have helped tens of thousands of people out of homelessness, and campaigned for change. The charity supports around 11,000 people every year to find a way out of homelessness for good, through education, training and support with housing, employment and health.

At Christmas, Crisis provides immediate help for homeless people at a critical time of year, offering safe and warm places where homeless people can spend the festive period. With support from 11,000 volunteers, homeless guests can enjoy hot meals, wellbeing services such as a haircut or massage, clean clothing and clothing repair and advice to help them get out of homelessness for good. The centers also offer access to crucial services such as general healthcare, a dentist and physiotherapy.

Click here to find out more about the plans for Crisis at Christmas 2017.

Gift aid reminder

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Gift aid reminder

Do you have a 31 March year end and a trading subsidiary? If so remember to pay over the gift aid in the 2017 subsidiary’s accounts by the end of this month. HMRC generally does not allow a payment to offset a tax charge if it is made late, so this is important. If you have any queries please contact your Sayer Vincent partner or manager.

Budget announcements

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Budget announcements

The Chancellor published the 2017 Autumn Budget on 22 November. The following announcements were of particular relevance to charities:

Gift Aid donor benefit rules – The Chancellor announced that the government will be simplifying the donor benefit rules with effect from 6 April 2019. The table below compares the situation under the old and new rules:

VAT threshold – The VAT registration threshold will remain at £85,000 for at least the next two years. However, in its recent review of VAT, the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) recommended that the government review the VAT registration threshold. The government has agreed to this, which could potentially result in the threshold being significantly lowered. This would have a major impact on any entity which is not currently VAT registered.

Tax return requests

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Tax return requests

We are receiving an increasing number of tax return requests for charities. HMRC are not always requesting these returns at the normal time and are sometimes requesting returns for multiple years. Tax return requests are normally issued the day after the year end and then you have until the following year end to submit the return, however if the request is issued late then you must submit the return by the later of the following year end and 3 months from the date of the request. Therefore, if you receive a tax return request from HMRC, please let us know as soon as possible, as you may only have 3 months to file it.

Gender pay gap reporting – act now

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Gender pay gap reporting – act now

If you have more than 250 employees you are now required to comply with new gender pay gap reporting regulations. Note the definition of an employee is wider as it is taken from the Equality Act 2010.

The first reporting deadline is 4 April 2018. Employers must perform six calculations and publish these on their website along with a written statement. In addition, the information must be reported to the government using their gender pay gap reporting service.

You can find details of the required calculations and the content of the written statement here.

New 2018 training seminars

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New 2018 training seminars

Our training seminars for next year are now available to book. We specialise in training trustees and staff in charities and social enterprises and our 2018 programme includes sessions on:

– Financial sustainability
– USAID funding
– How to be a good trustee
– Tax for charities including Gift Aid and VAT
– Reading charity accounts
– Preventing fraud

Click here for the full list of training sessions in Birmingham and London.

Social care compliance scheme

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Social care compliance scheme

On 1 November HMRC made their latest announcement in relation to the potential non-compliance with National Minimum Wage legislation in the case of sleep-in arrangements for social care charities.

In the announcement HMRC gave organisations a year to identify what they owe sleep-in carers if they have paid workers less than the National Minimum Wage. If employers choose to opt into the scheme, they must do so by December 2018 and agree to pay all arrears by March 2019. Organisations who sign up to the scheme will get technical assistance and will then be exempted from any fines and won’t be publicly named.

For those organisations already under investigation in respect of this matter, we are aware that HMRC are sending out letters giving you 30 days to decide whether or not to join the scheme and so in some cases, this issue will need your urgent attention.

Further information in respect of HMRC’s announcement
The new enforcement guidance

Since the announcement, we have been in touch with a number of legal firms to try and better understand what this means for our clients, and we understand that there is no easy ‘one size fits all’ solution as each provider of services has had a different approach to setting terms and conditions and the rates of pay behind sleep-in shifts. As a result, the views expressed by legal firms are varied and we would recommend that you consult with your own lawyers to understand how the situation applies to you.

Some legal firms have now produced publicly available guidance and we have set out the links to some of these below:
Anthony Collins
Russell Cooke
Wilsons Solicitors

VODG (the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group) has also made a statement regarding the announcement and are working alongside the government to try and address the issue of how any demands for back pay are funded. At present, no specific financial support for addressing funding issues has been agreed.

Mencap have also written an article on their own experience of dealing with this and a formal press release in respect of the recent announcement.

We would recommend that you do speak to your legal advisors to fully understand what this means for you and to ask their advice on whether or not you should be signing up to the compliance scheme. Please do also speak to us about this to understand more about what this might mean for your annual accounts such as resulting adjustments and disclosures that will need to be included depending on which route you intend to follow.

Taken on Trust – a major new report on trusteeship

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Taken on Trust – a major new report on trusteeship

Published at the start of Trustees’ Week 2017, this report identifies a series of 28 recommendations to support how trustees are recruited and boards are supported.

Recommendations follow an online survey based on all charity trustees registered with the Charity Commission in January 2017.There are five groups of recommendations covering recruitment of trustees; provision of advice and support; development of digital advice, support and communications strategy; collection of additional information by the Charity Commission; and recommendations for further research and analysis.

We’ll be reviewing the detailed content to see how Sayer Vincent can respond to the recommendations – in the meantime if you’d like to read more there’s more on the Charity Commission website.

Honorary Treasurer’s Handbook

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Honorary Treasurer’s Handbook

We are delighted to announce the launch this week of the Treasurer’s Handbook.

If you are a treasurer or trustee who takes the lead on finances, this handbook will be for you. Alternatively you may be part of the management team and be thinking about the recruitment and induction to this role – it has guidance on this as well.

Three of our team – Kate Sayer, Judith Miller and Arlene Clapham have produced the content for the Honorary Treasurers Forum to produce the handbook, which was edited by Denise Fellows the Chief Executive of the Honorary Treasurers Forum. The handbook has been radically updated since first produced 10 years ago and offers up-to-date advice and best practice support to enable Treasurers to work more effectively in today’s challenging charity environment. The content was updated in recognition of the financial and governance changes introduced over the years. It is now in digital format so will be kept up to date with any new guidance and relevant information.

Bruce Gordon, Chair of the Honorary Treasurers Forum says, “Many books and guides explain charity accounting, but they don’t cover all the aspects of an Honorary Treasurer’s role. The role of a Treasurer can be highly diverse.” As well as address technical aspects of the job, we hope the handbook will help with the ‘softer’ aspects of the role too.

Download a copy from our website and get in touch with Judith Miller if you have any questions.