Saving and transitional provision

Small Charitable Donations and Childcare Payments Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:30 am ar 18 Hydref 2016.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Jane Ellison Jane Ellison The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

Clause 8 makes minor technical changes to ensure that a charity that has merged with another before 6 April 2017 does not inadvertently lose an opportunity to claim top-up payments for an earlier tax year as a consequence of the removal of two of the eligibility criteria from that date.

I explained earlier that the Bill makes changes to the eligibility criteria for claiming top-up payments under the small donations scheme. I explained that currently charities must have a gift aid history before they can claim under that scheme; in other words, they must have made a successful claim in two out of the previous four tax years.

Currently, if a new charity has taken over the activities of one or more charities, it may apply to HMRC for the gift aid history of the old charity to be taken into account for the purposes of the small donations scheme. If certain criteria are met—the old and new charities having similar purposes, for example—HMRC will issue a certificate that allows the new charity to claim top-up allowances on the strength of the old charity’s gift aid history. In other words, those rules ensure that when a new charity takes over an old charity it is not automatically denied access to the gift aid small donations scheme because it cannot meet the eligibility requirements.

As Members have heard, the Bill will abolish the two-in-four eligibility criterion and the need for new charities to have a successful gift aid history, so the merger rules will largely become redundant from 6 April next year. However, a charity may have taken over the activities of an old charity before April 2017 and want to take advantage of the merger rules to claim top-up payments under the scheme for an earlier tax year.

The changes made in clause 8 therefore retain the merger rules in their current form for cases in which a charity has taken over the activities of another, or more than one other, before 6 April 2017. The time limits for making an application to HMRC for the merger provisions to apply mean that a merger could take place before 6 April 2017, but either the charity has not made its application before that date or the charity has made its application but it has not yet been accepted by HMRC. The transitional provisions included in the clause will ensure that applications may still be made by a charity, and accepted by HMRC, in respect of mergers before 6 April next year.

The practical implications of the clause are obviously time-limited, because they apply only to mergers pre-April 2017. Nevertheless, without the clause, some charities that merged before that date may unexpectedly lose their entitlement to top-up payments.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 8 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 9 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

New Clause 1