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I am the treasurer for a local community forum , and we have various expenses to pay i.e. Every year we put up Christmas LIghts, make donations to various bodies and pay for equipment and services.
Up to last year, we could get a grant (up to a preset limit) from the council, we would pay the expenses from the grant and any VAT was paid by the council, however now there is no grant and not only do we have to raise our own funding (Quiz nights, Raffles,dances etc), we also have to pay VAT on any equipment we need.
As a voluntry group with a very low income (under £10000 pa), mainly raised throgh activies and donations,we are not (as far as we know) eligible for VAT relief, or able to claim charitable status.
Any suggestions on how we proceed with the extra expense of VAT.
Do more fund raising.
No reason why a council should fund this from the public purse. If you can't raise enough then give up or let someone else try.
Some councils are merging their resources to give better value for money. Maybe something similar could keep your local community alive & kicking.
Have the council offered any advice as to where you might be able to obtain other funding?.
Some council's have cut funding to certain groups as an excuse for the government cutting their funding.
Are there any persons who have a disability in the group, who may require special needs, because there might be some allowances available from other sources to cover for this.
You could also try your local superstores, banks etc, because some do offer and give support to local community groups.
There are VAT relief programmes for 'not-for-profit' organisations. It might be worth giving your local HMRC office a call. The link below provides some commentary.
Am I right in thinking that if you become a VAT registered business, you can reclaim the VAT, and as there is no profit (all income monies donated) no VAT to pay back? Is that allowed?
Strange, I tried to supply comment to this post at about 10.50pm (?) and the website sent error messages, and refused access, and I gave up. Now the post appears and was posted?.
Perhaps adding further, some of our local groups have formed amalgamations, because their activities were overlapping each other. The only problem with that, was the background arguments, as to who wanted to be in charge!.
As I understand it, and I used to be Vat registered, is that above a certain amount of income then you have to register for VAT but can voluntarily register below that amount. But you are not trading and do not have any inputs to offset the VAT against so I think that this is probably a non-starter and almost certainly not worth the hassle of forming a company, etc.
A194-- We do do a lot of fund raising, but there is only so many times you can ask people to give, without losing the goodwill of the community.You say let some one else try-- Will you give it a try in your local area-- I would like to know.
Aitchbee--We have already merged with 3 other local groups in an attempt to provide better services for local causes without overlap-it is not unknown for a group to go to one group and ask for funds, then go straight to another group with the same story.
Spuds-- Yes we do request'donations' (in goods or cash) from local shops and businesses, but see reply to A194.As for your second letter, we have already solved that problem by have our own meetings and those of us on the committee meet with our counterparts at another meeting to try and settle who gets what.
Rick'scafe-- We have looked at the VAT options, and for the amount of tranactions and the cost of administrating the scheme it is not viable.
Forum Member- Yes we have looked at charitable status, but the same as VAT, unless you are about a certain size and have a high enough turnover, the costs outweight the benefits
Some of our members are disabled, and a lot of the funding goes to childrens groups and mental and physically persons to make their life a bit easier, so every penny we have to pay in tax is a penny someone else loses out on.
If you want to help your local area, please ask at you local library or talk to the council, as at one time or another we will all need help.
Incidently- the personal costs of being a member of a group like this range from £200 per annum and up, not including your own time, all of which (unlike MP's) you cannot claim for.
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