Help available to charities affected by the pandemic

This continues to be a challenging time for all organisations and charities are not immune to the effects of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown. 

On 8 April 2020, the Chancellor announced a £750m package to support those charities financially impacted by the pandemic. Of this, £370m is to be allocated to smaller charities in the form of cash grants, with priority being given to those addressing the most urgent needs, such as hospices, food banks, support to victims of domestic violence and children’s services.  

Applications for a cash grant can be made via the National Lottery Community Fund with further funds to be available from government departments. 

Regardless of whether a charity is on the front line of the pandemic, most charities have been equally affected by the cancellation of fundraising events. HMRC have drafted new rules to enable the charities to claim gift aid on amounts from supporters who have refused a refund and chosen to make the ticket price a donation. Previously the donor would have had to receive a refund and then re-donate the money to claim the gift aid, so this is a welcome change.

Another measure available to charities is the Coronovirus Job Retention Scheme. The HMRC portal is now open for applications under the scheme, which is currently due to run until 30 June 2020. This is a way to retain and pay vital staff whose duties are currently on hold, while easing the cashflow pressures on the charity.

Charities are also available to apply for a rebate of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for any staff off sick with COVID-19, covering up to two weeks of SSP. 

For VAT registered charities, deferral of VAT payments falling due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 can be made automatically, without the need to apply to HMRC. Any deferred payments will need to be made on or before 31 March 2021. Remember, if you pay by direct debit, this will need to be cancelled to take advantage of the deferral. 

Amy Kensett, Partner 

  

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