Free Advice

Not in Scotland please !

Australia is looking at setting up a similar Government body to the Scottish OSCR (Office of Scottish Charity Regulator).

But some alarm bells are ringing.

The Aussie equivalent is thinking of taxing charity income “of unrelated commercial activities that are not directed back to their altruistic purpose”.

What does that mean ?. How long will this last ?.

Let me explain.

In Scotland, many churches have charity shops. Some have a separate bank account. The revenues are not “directed back” to the main account.

Other churches may have other activities.

Will these qualify ? If so, will they be taxed ?. Also, how long before the definition narrows ?.

What I am saying is that in Scotland, we must ensure that OSCR doesn’t start to re-define what churches do so the Government can start taxing churches for “other” activities.

My experience in life is that Governments like to bring change slowly to reduce criticism.

But it’s not just tax I am concerned about, it’s the compliance costs. 

Compliance costs is administration costs such as the time taken to comply, the extra spreadsheets required, and the concern if “everything is incorrect”. Then there are the associated fines etc. For larger charities, there could be legal costs.

I hope it doesn’t come to Scotland.