Members: 0 member(s)

Shares ?


Clicks ?


Viral Lift ?


User's Tags

Other Blogs

  • 12 Mar 2018
    If you’re juggling the finances of a charity - bravo! - it can be a thankless and often un-rewarded task. You won’t need reminding (it’s been on the same day since 1800) that the end of the Tax Year is fast approaching, ahead of which there are a few ‘left-field’ areas it’s well worth looking into. If you have a spare hour between now and 5th April, here’s a checklist you might find handy and - who knows - could even earn you an unexpected accolade… as well as extra funds.   VAT on Energy Bills Charities can apply to reduce the VAT on their energy bills from 20% to 5% and - if you’ve paid 20% in the past – can ask for a rebate for the past four years. This is the maximum period of time that HMRC will allow and it counts in Tax Years so, by submitting a form to your supplier now, means your rebate could include VAT payments as far back as the tax year 2013-2014. A successful reduction in VAT also removes the Climate Change Levy element from your bills too. If your energy bill has 20% VAT in the calculations and want to know what to do next, head over to Back of the Sofa.    Business Rates Discretionary Relief As you know, most charities are also entitled to some form of relief on their Business Rates. And, like VAT discounts, if you don’t ask... you don’t get. Some pay 20% while others pay nothing at all because they have been granted Discretionary Relief. These could be churches, charities or clubs that benefit the local community - even organisations to do with social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts. Each of the UK’s 420 or so Councils has their own rules and guidelines but, like HMRC, they work in Financial Years and so relief will often be back-dated to the start of April in the Tax Year that you are applying. To see how your Council does it, use this search tool. Tax on Savings Interest In 2016, banks started paying interest gross on savings accounts but prior to that they would often deduct tax at source and that would automatically remove 20% from any interest earned. This was common among charities that hold ‘business accounts’ – even though charities are exempt from paying tax on bank interest. Again, the period of time allowed to reverse any incorrect deductions is four Tax Years. That means charities now only have a rapidly diminishing window of opportunity to claim back the tax their bank incorrectly removed in the 2013-2014 period as well as up to 2016. If your bank statements show that tax was paid, you need to tell HMRC via Charities Online or ask for a ChR1 form. If you are successful in these or other – alternative – ways, please let me know! Nick Heath is founder of Back of the Sofa, a free resource to help charities find cash they didn’t know about. (Twitter and Facebook)   Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    7 digital tactics for small charities in volatile times 5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha The Subconscious Effects of Storytelling in Charity Marketing  
    6045 Posted by Nick Heath
Tips & guides 6,167 views Apr 16, 2018
To Coin a Phrase: Zero Cost Giving

These days there are growing ways to give to charity that needn’t involve sticking your hand in your pocket. Look at it another way: there’s growing number of opportunities for charities to galvanise their supporters and raise cash without actually having to ask individuals for any more of theirs. It’s called ‘Zero Cost Giving’ to coin a phrase. So long as there is no additional cost to the individual - and there’s little effort involved - these are all easy consumer choices to make.

A great example is For Good Causes which encourages members of the public to donate unspent loyalty rewards – which it has calculated are worth £7 billion – to any of the 12,000 charities signed up to the Charities Trust. Give As You Live is another. It pays a commission from any purchases made among 4,200 participating retailers and claims to have raised nearly £10 million among the 10,000 charities involved. Likewise, Amazon Smile is just getting going in the UK but pledges to donate 0.5% of its transactions and has over 2,000 charities already in line to benefit.

Registration for these initiatives is free but does require a Charity Commission number and that can put smaller charities at a disadvantage. However, there is an alternative solution for both registered and unregistered charities. And, better still, it allows Joe Public to benefit financially from the choices they’re being encouraged to make - as well as the charity. A ‘Collective Energy Switch’ is unique in that it gives something back to a charity’s supporters (by cutting a fifth off their energy bills) whilst turning the commission - that would normally be pocketed by a price comparison website for doing roughly the same thing - into a donation. It can work for organisations of any size - whether a not-for-profit, charity or Community Amateur Sports Club… indeed having a strong local community presence is often better than having a formal structure.

If you’ve never heard of them, Collective Energy Switches are a great way to get a group of people onto a cheaper tariff in one go, combining the buying power of the participants without everyone having to shop around themselves. The best known example is probably Martin Lewis’s Cheap Energy Club – the success of which was the main reason behind British Gas having to admit that it lost 650,000 customers in the third quarter of last year alone.

So now charities - registered or not - can pool willing supporters into a Collective Energy Switch and receive £15 per household who take up the resulting cheap offer. Back of the Sofa does this through a partnership with iChoosr: a well-established collective switch organiser, running three ‘auctions’ a year among energy suppliers. Around 75,000 households take part in each one and - last time round - the winning tariff was £245 cheaper than the average annual ‘Big 6’ standard variable tariff of £1,149. Charities are able to pick and choose how regularly they participate. Offering a Collective Energy Switch opportunity to supporters once yearly, for example, means everyone has the opportunity to move on to another cheap deal as soon as the first one expires, not to mention guaranteeing a regular source of income for the charity.

All the charity has to do is put a registration page under the noses of its supporters (ie via email or social media) and let common sense prevail. Those wishing to join the next one have until 22th May to apply for a registration page and garner their support.

Found this blog post useful? You may also like:   

5 tips to avoid having your Google Grants account deactivated

Back of the Sofa’s Alternative Guide to the Tax Year End