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BULLETIN No. 171: February 2018

My monthly attempt to keep my contacts, friends, friends of friends, etc. in touch with what's going on in the world of charities. A distillation of the many briefings that arrive on my desk, plus whatever I've gleaned from charities I'm currently working with. Always glad to get your comments and suggestions, and requests for help.

Daryl Martin

d.martin@afvs.org.uk

What do we have this month?

1. Data Protection (GDPR) Update
2. Retention of Records
3. Serious Incident Reporting
4. Trustee Training
5. VAT on Utilities
6. Online Learning
7. Increased Responsibilities for Independent Examiners
8. Charitable Companies Converting to CIOs
9. Driving on Charity Business
10. Charity Commission Budget
11. HMRC Targets Healthwatch Charities
12. How Can We Help You?
13. And Finally...

1. Data Protection (GDPR) Update
We ran our first training session a few days ago. It went well with questions coming thick and fast. The main issue is that there are only two main basis for processing personal data: Consent and Legitimate Interest. A lot of charities are going for Consent. For some charities, Consent is a must; for most small to medium charities holding non-sensitive data, Legitimate Interest is a better option, for a number of reasons. If you’re thinking of going for Consent, think it through carefully and take advice; there may be a simpler solution.

We are running three more training sessions over the coming weeks, a daytime session in Ferndown (only two spaces left!!), and evening sessions at both Chichester and Romsey, Southampton. There are still spaces available for all venues, and further details are available via our Facebook events page. Please keep this page bookmarked so you can keep your eye out for the next GDPR training location - https://www.facebook.com/pg/AFVS.org.uk/events/. If you wish to book place, then please email Becky at bbenford_blows@afvs.org.uk

We also have the 2-hour and 10-hour online GDPR courses available, and we can offer up to 50% discount for AFVS members so please click on the link and go to the Charity Management Courses tab to find us - www.bowringandjazz.com/. Let Becky know before you sign up to get your discount code.

 

2. Retention of Records
During the training session mentioned above I asked the hoary old question, ‘how long should trustee minuses be kept’, expecting the usual answers, (7 years, 12 years so forth). Maggie Page came up with the correct answer (forever) and followed it up by sending me Buzzacott’s excellent paper on how long we should retain records. Here’s the link (Well done Maggie)

http://www.buzzacott.co.uk/getattachment/64ced867-bdc1-4906-862e-6b6fdea1a64e/retention-of-accounting-records-(1)

 

3. Serious Incident Reporting
I’m currently working with several charities, where decisions will soon need to be made as to whether a serious incident report should be sent to the Regulator. If you send in a report when it isn’t necessary you risk unwarranted interference; If you don’t when you should, you’re taking a bigger risk when they find out by other means. If something’s gone wrong and you’re not sure whether to report it, (or perhaps you decide to report it but need help putting a report together), email us, and we’ll do our best to help.

 

4. Trustee Training
My diary is getting pretty full. I can squeeze in a few more up to the summer, but I’m beginning to cast around for people who can work with me on delivering high-quality training material (Currently mainly Trustee training and Data Protection) in different parts of the country.

 

5. VAT on Utilities
An AFVS member telephoned just a couple of minutes ago, (honestly if I keep getting interrupted this bulletin won’t be out ‘till Easter!). He’d received an email promising that the sender could find ways to save them money on their power bills without them having to change supplier. Apparently, this charity is being charged the full 20% VAT rate on their fuel and power. We updated our Charity Toolkit late last year to include a helpful section by Les Howard our resident charity VAT specialist. He tells you how to get your tax rate on power bills reduced to 5%. You can do this yourself without having to pay someone else. If you have been overpaying you can get the reduction backdated 3 or 4 years. Les at les@vatadvice.org is always available for VAT consultations.

 

6. Online Learning
The online learning courses I’ve been telling you about are now live. My first course is ‘All About Trustees’. It’s in 3 parts. There’s also a small course on Charity Trading, and of course the 10-hour GDPR course. The 2-hour GDPR Awareness course is also now live. We’re able to offer discounts on these courses to members so let Becky know before you sign up. www.bowringandjazz.com

 

7. Increased Responsibilities for Independent Examiners
The charity regulators are encouraging auditors and independent examiners to be more forthcoming with concerns they come across in charity finances or governance during the course of their work. They’ve even published examples on where a matter should be reported; this includes lack of financial oversight by the board, or uncertainty of funding if the charity is reliant on a single source.

Until recently if your accountant carried out the bookkeeping functional he could also carry out the independent examination. No longer; the conflict of interest is too great.

 

8. Charitable Companies Converting to CIOs
After a long wait, company charities can now convert to CIOs. It’s a phased implementation as follows:

1st January, annual income under £12,500.
1st March, annual income £12,500 to £25,000
1st May, annual income £25,000 to £100,000
1st June, annual income £100,000 to £250,000
1st July, annual income £250,000 to £500,000
1st August everyone else

The process is generally simple, and the charity will be able to keep its existing charity number. The Commission will liaise with Companies House to ensure that necessary records are updated correctly. This will mean that the date of conversion of the charitable company to a CIO, as shown on the public Register of charities, will match the date of removal of the charitable company at Companies House.

Any additional changes which you may wish to make (for example, a change in name or charitable objects) must be made before or after conversion. Contact us if you need help or guidance.

 

9. Driving on Charity Business
I undertake regular voluntary unpaid work for charities, involving driving to/from their premises and to/from their activities in various locations. Does this count as business use for insurance purposes? A question I’m often asked.

Using your car on charity business is a grey area; some insurers say it’s covered under Social and domestic; others say you need business cover. Some will charge extra for this; others don’t. Do check it out. Never give an insurer any opportunity to repudiate a claim.

 

10. Charity Commission Budget
After enduring a 50% budget cut over the last ten years the Charity Commission is, at last, getting a 25 percent boost to its annual income - £5m a year - to help it respond to increases in demand on its core functions. This is an “interim” solution, and the Commission continues to work on proposals that would see larger charities being charged to help fund it.

 

11. HMRC Targets Healthwatch Charities
HMRC lost an important Tax Tribunal case recently, in relation to a local Healthwatch organisation. The technical question was whether the organisation was ‘in business’ for VAT purposes. HMRC argued that it was a public body, and therefore not in business. The Tribunal rejected the HMRC arguments and allowed the Appeal. HMRC has announced that they do not intend to appeal this decision. We have heard that HMRC has written to other Healthwatch operators around the country, effectively ignoring the decision of the Tribunal. This is a disturbing turn of events.

If HMRC contacts you in relation to any VAT matter, do not ignore it. Item from Les at les@vatadvice.org.

 

12. How Can We Help You?
The list of our support services gets ever longer:

All Aspects of Accounts including Yearend and Bookkeeping
Migration to Xero and QuickBooks Online
Mentoring
VAT Advice
Outsourcing (Book-keeping, Virtual FD, Gift Aid etc.)
Data Protection (GDPR) Compliance
HR Support
Legal Advice
Trading Issues (including Charity Shops)
Community Halls
Fundraising: Reviewing, Advising, Mentoring, Bid Writing
Training, Including Online Learning
General Advice and Consultancy
Extensive Library of Briefings and Policy Templates


Contact us if you need help in any of these areas.

 

13. And Finally...

Many of us are undergoing challenging times right now in our families, our jobs and businesses, and in our charity work. Most of us are overloaded; and that’s even before we switch the news on, which is always disturbing. A gentle prayer from Christine Sine. Slow down and take a little time to allow it to resonate deep within you.

Deep Peace
Let the deep peace of God
Penetrate your heart.
Let it flood your soul,
And overflow your spirit.
Let the deep peace of God
Fill you with hope and trust.
Let it bring you rest,
And surround you with tranquillity.
Let the deep peace of God
Be ever present to you.
Let it guide you forward,
Into the embrace of God’s love.

Thank you for your encouraging messages. We look forward to hearing from you with your questions, your suggestions, your requests for help and advice. Go well.

If you find this bulletin helpful, could you take a moment to pass it onto others who might appreciate it?

Daryl Martin

 

 

  

Advice For the Voluntary Sector CIC
Registered in England & Wales No: 7939754
Sovereign Centre, Poplars, Yapton Lane, Walberton, Arundel, West Sussex, BN18 0AS
Telephone: 0845 319 8330 - Web: www.afvs.org.uk