Protecting your charity tax status in one simple step

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The Finance Act 2010 introduced a new requirement for charities to be run by ‘Fit & Proper Persons’ in order to enjoy status as a charity for tax purposes and so be eligible for the tax reliefs afforded to charities. The requirement is still relatively little known and so, many charities we come across have not taken the simple steps necessary to prove they are run by Fit & Proper Persons which would protect their tax status. 

Interestingly there is no definition of a Fit & Proper Person in the legislation, but HMRC assumes that all persons appointed to the general control and management of a charity are fit and proper persons unless they have information to the contrary. ‘Persons having the general control and management of a charity’ is not restricted to just the Trustees but will include management as well. Full details of who is covered can be found in the government’s guidance at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/charities-fit-and-proper-persons-test/guidance-on-the-fit-and-proper-persons-test 

Provided charities take appropriate action on appointing personnel then they can assume they are run by fit and proper persons - unless HMRC indicate they have concerns to the contrary. Charities therefore need to make sure they hold a declaration completed by all current relevant persons and anyone appointed in the future. HMRC have provided a model declaration which can be downloaded here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/597664/Fit-and-proper-persons-helpsheet-and-declaration.pdf 

If all relevant persons are able to sign the declaration then the charity need take no further action, they can assume they are run by Fit and proper persons. Thankfully there is no need to get the declarations updated on an annual basis.