Reminder on Business Rate Relief
We are aware that some charities are being approached by retailers and landlords about tenancy agreements that would entitle them to discounted business rates. Trustees are reminded that before entering into any tenancy agreements to occupy empty properties, they must:
- be assured that the tenancy agreement is for the exclusive benefit of the charity, will further the charity’s purposes and is in its best interests
- ensure the property is genuinely required and is fit for purpose
- consider the potential liability of the charity to pay outstanding rates if the local authority disputes use of the premises and refuses rates relief
- very carefully safeguard the charity’s independence and ensure the charity is not being abused for the benefit of a commercial company
exercise caution and where possible take independent professional advice from the relevant council department or a legal advisor
Changes for those who raise funds from the public
We recently issued our updated guidance on fundraising. This is a must read for any charities who raise funds from the public and makes clear that trustees have ultimately responsibility for their charity’s fundraising. It sets out 6 key principles to help trustees comply with their legal duties when overseeing their charity’s fundraising. We’ve signposted other information on the legal rules about fundraising, and have created a useful checklist that you can use to evaluate how your charity is doing.
Alongside this new guidance, the new independent regulator of charitable fundraising launched on 7 July and will begin registering charities in the autumn. Support for the Fundraising Regulator will be vital to address public concern about these issues. We would encourage all charities to sign up for communications from the organisation via its website. Further information about how to register will be provided by the Fundraising Regulator soon.