HL Deb 26 February 2004 vol 658 cc72-3WA
Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Which organisations are treated as charities for taxation purposes without coming under the regulatory jurisdiction of the Charity Commission; and why they are so treated. [HL1134]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord McIntosh of Haringey)

There are a number of charities in England and Wales which do not come under the full regulatory jurisdiction of the Charity Commission. These are exempt charities, which include, among others, most universities and national museums; excepted charities, such as some of the Protestant Churches; and those with an income below £1,000 per annum (unless they have a permanent endowment or the use or occupation of land).

A full list of classes of exempt charities is in Schedule 2 to the Charities Act 1993. Excepted charities are enacted by regulations made under Section 3(5)(b) of the Charities Act 1993.

None of these organisations has to register with the Charity Commission, nor submit an annual report or annual accounts. The Charity Commission has differing powers to inquire of and investigate these charities, but these are limited in nature, particularly in respect of exempt charities.

The Government believe that this situation is no longer justified and the Charities Bill currently being drafted will bring greater regulatory oversight of these organisations as charities.

Charities in Scotland and Northern Ireland are not regulated by the Charity Commission but benefit from tax exemptions by virtue of their charitable status. The Inland Revenue decides whether bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland are charities for tax purposes, using the same principles of charity law as the Charity Commission.

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