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Charity mandatory and discretionary relief

Charities are entitled to 80 per cent relief where the property is occupied by the charity and is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes.

We have the discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill.

Full details of this scheme are available by contacting us via telephone on 01522 873342 or by emailing us at revenues@lincoln.gov.uk.

Frequently asked questions

How do I know that my organisation will qualify for mandatory relief?
Section 43 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, states that if a property is occupied by a charity or trustees for a charity, and the property is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes (whether of that charity or that of other charities), the chargeable amount will be reduced by 80 per cent.

Therefore if you are a registered charity and you occupy any non-domestic premises you will be able to claim 80 per cent relief from business rates.

If we are not a registered charity does this mean we will not get mandatory relief?
Not necessarily so, the absence of an entry on the register of charities maintained by the Charity Commissioners does not necessarily mean that the organisation concerned is not a charity, since it may be an excepted charity or exempt from registration.

An excepted charity is one that does not need to register because of regulations or an order made by the Charity Commission, and these include Scouts & Guides, voluntary schools and various religious charities.

An exempt charity is a charity listed under the Charities Act 1993, or otherwise exempt by legislation. No charity is required to be registered in respect of places of public religious worship, most universities, friendly societies, and industrial and provident societies, whose annual income is below £100,000. If the charities income is over £100,000 then it is required to register with the Charity Commission unless it is a charity with a principal regulator, for example The Housing Corporation regulates housing associations and therefore they are not required to be registered.

Proof of being an excepted or exempt charity can be gained by providing a letter from HMRC confirming that they regard the organisation as entitled to exemption from taxes under the provisions of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988 section 505.

What is the definition of a charity?
A charity in its legal sense consists of any of the following:
(a) trusts for the relief of poverty;
(b) trusts for the advancement of religion;
(c) trusts for the advancement of education; and
(d) trusts for other purposes beneficial to the community, but not falling under any of the above categories.

What does ‘wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes’ mean in relation to occupation of a property?
The thirteen charitable purposes listed under the Charities Act 2006, Section 2, must be for public benefit and are:
(a) the prevention or relief or poverty, and/or;
(b) the advancement of education, and/or,
(c) the advancement of religion, and/or,
(d) the advancement of health or the saving of lives, and/or
(e) the advancement of citizenship or community development, and/or
(f) the advancement of arts, culture, heritage or science, and/or
(g) the advancement of amateur sport, and/or;
(h) the advancement of human rights, conflict resolution or reconciliation, or the promotion of religious or racial harmony or equality and diversity, and/or;
(i) the advancement of environmental protection or improvement, and/or;
(j) the relief of those in need by reason of youth, age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage, and/or;
(k) the advancement of animal welfare, and /or;
(l) the promotion of the efficiency of the armed forces of the Crown, or the efficiency of the police, fire and rescue services or ambulance services, and/or
(m) other purposes that are currently recognised as charitable and are in the spirit of any purpose currently recognised as charitable.

Will my organisation be able to claim any Discretionary Rate Relief?
In certain circumstances. Discretionary Rate Relief, as the name implies is totally at the discretion of each billing authority (the Council that sends you your bill). To qualify for any relief in this category your organisation must however be a charity or a ‘not for profit’ body. And one of the following conditions must apply:

(a) the ratepayer is a charity or the trustees for a charity, and the hereditament (property) is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes; or

(b) the property is not an excepted property (see * below), and all or part of it is occupied for the purposes of one or more institutions or other organisations non of which is established or conducted for profit and each of whose main objects are charitable or are otherwise philanthropic or religious or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts; or

(c) the property is not an excepted property (see * below), and it is wholly or mainly used for the purposes of recreation, and all or part of it is occupied for the purposes of a club, society or other organisation not established or conducted for profit.

* An excepted property is one where all or part of it is occupied (otherwise than as a trustee) by a billing authority (a Council that sends out the bills), or by a precepting authority (County & Parish Councils or Police Commissioner) except as a charter trustee.

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