Charity Tax Commission supports our calls for VAT exemption on charitable Wills

17 July 2019

The Charity Tax Commission’s report on reforming charity taxation, out today, includes a key recommendation that charitable Wills should be exempt from VAT.

This recommendation has been at the heart of Remember A Charity’s lobbying activity in recent years, strengthened and supported by the Institute of Fundraising.

Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity, welcomes the report and highlights the importance of incentivising legacy giving for all supporters, saying: “We know that the current Inheritance Tax breaks are a powerful motivator for professional advisors to raise the option of legacy giving with clients and to encourage people to give, but they are only available to a minority of the public. To normalise legacy giving, we need to create a more level playing field and ensure that legacy giving is not something reserved for the wealthiest in society, but something that we are all encouraged to do.

“Introducing a VAT exemption on charitable Wills would benefit every supporter, encourage legacy giving and ensure that charitable bequests are considered every time somebody writes a Will.

“The key to growing legacy giving is driving consideration and conversation. Fiscal incentives such as our VAT proposal have huge potential to be a powerful lever for change, helping charities and advisors to become louder about legacies.”

This announcement follows the recent recommendation from the OTS to retain the current IHT tax relief. Charitable gifts in Wills are currently exempt from IHT (charged at 40%) and those that donate over 10% of their estate to charity benefit from a discounted rate of 36% across the remaining value of their estate. The review questioned whether the 10% incentive – which applies to a minority of estates from which the majority of legacy income is raised – was to be continued.

Gifts in wills contribute the largest single source of voluntary income to the charity sector, generating over £3 billion for good causes each year.