Made simple guides

Charity shops made simple
Charity shops
This guide explains in detail how the Retail Gift Aid scheme works so that finance teams can use it with confidence. It illustrates appropriate accounting treatments, and gives background information on other tax, VAT issues and the legal framework of different types of shop activities.
Collaborative working made simple
Collaborative working
This guide will help you with models for collaborative working to deliver services and share back office functions, covering tax and VAT implications of different ways of working. The examples relate to joint bids as well as sharing back office services.
Employee and volunteer taxation made simple
Employee and volunteer taxation
Employing staff full-time is reasonably straightforward, but there are often questions about part-time staff, agency staff and consultants. This guide steers you through the maze, together with an explanation of the rules on benefits and how all this can affect volunteers.
Gift Aid made simple
Gift Aid
This guide explains how Gift Aid works from a charity’s perspective. The administration of Gift Aid can be a burden and you need to follow the rules to avoid problems during a Gift Aid audit. The rules for the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme are also explained.
Grants and contracts made simple
Grants and contracts
In the past, charities mainly received grants and donations, but more charities are receiving payment for the delivery of services under contract. This guide explains the characteristics of grants and contracts, and how to treat them for VAT and accounting purposes.
International aspects of VAT made simple
International aspects of VAT
This guide aims to outline for UK charities and NGOs the special VAT rules that apply when goods and services are supplied across national borders. The rules are complex and this guide explains when to charge VAT and how this affects your recovery of VAT on purchases.
Mergers made simple
This guide provides a step-by-step process for handling a merger or a takeover, explaining the options for different structures. It considers the legal and financial aspects but also emphasises the importance of good cultural fit to successful mergers.
Pricing made simple
This short guide is relevant to charities offering goods and services to individuals as well as seeking funding through grants and services. While you need to understand your costs to help you make good pricing decisions, there is much more to pricing than costing.
Reading charity accounts
This guide aims to make reading a set of charity accounts simple for those new to the charity sector. Most of the basic accounting principles apply, but they have to be adapted to fit the non-commercial nature of some charity transactions. This guide covers fund accounting, different types of charity and what to consider when reading a charity’s accounts and assessing a charity’s performance.
Related parties made simple
Related parties
This guide explains when somebody or an organisation is considered connected or related, what types of transactions might be related party transactions and which ones must be reported in annual financial statements, as well as the extent of the disclosures required.
Reserves policies made simple
Reserves policies
What level of reserves should a charity have? This guide sets out a method for analysing your charity’s financial position and developing a robust reserves policy. You will be able to follow the step-by-step process to formulate your own calculation of the appropriate level of reserves.
Risk assessment made simple
Risk assessment
This guide provides a framework to share a common understanding about risk and a tool for the prioritisation of management decision-making. It will help you to recognise existing control activity that is managing risks and identifying gaps where you need to do more.
Risk management made simple
Risk management
Build on your risk assessment process to involve more people. This guide explains how constructive use of risk management techniques can draw out the positive management responses available to an organisation and develop the capacity of individuals to manage risks more effectively.
SORP 2015 made simple
SORP 2015
This guide is designed for people who may be new to the charity sector or otherwise need to understand charity accounts. Charities have to prepare accounts in accordance with the Statement of Recommended Practice – the latest one being SORP 2015.
Subsidiaries made simple
The common way for charities to deal with trading which does not fall within their objects is to channel the income and expenditure relating to those activities through a separate company. This guide explains how to set up and operate a charity trading subsidiary.
Tax for charity fundraisers made simple
Tax for charity fundraisers
This guide explains the main Gift Aid, VAT and direct tax consequences of sixteen common charity fundraising activities. In addition, background sections on these taxes as they affect charities explain the principles behind various rules.
Tax issues for arts organisations made simple
Tax issues for arts organisations
Arts and cultural organisations frequently charge for admissions and incur significant amounts of VAT on costs. This guide looks at specific forms of fundraising, membership and tax reliefs that apply to arts organisations. It covers VAT, Gift Aid and direct tax.
Tax-effective giving made simple
Tax-effective giving
Various tax incentives are available to individuals and companies to encourage giving to charity. This guide outlines the key methods of making donations to charity tax effectively (other than Gift Aid) and incorporates the VAT implications of some of these forms of giving.
Trading issues made simple
Trading issues
Many charities provide a service in return for a fee and this may amount to trading. This guide explains when trading is permitted within a charity, how to use tax exemptions and set up appropriate structures if they wish to expand trading activities.
VAT made simple
VAT is a complex transaction tax for charities because of the variety of charity activities, including fundraising and charging for services. This guide steers you through the maze to the charity-specific aspects of VAT so that you gain an overview of how VAT affects your charity.
VAT for hospices made simple
VAT for hospices
This guide covers the new VAT refund scheme introduced on 1 April 2015. This scheme affects the whole VAT recovery of a hospice, so it includes detailed descriptions of how you should perform the calculations. Also covers the VAT position for all hospice activities including fundraising.