Being a charity in England with the Charity Commission can bring many benefits to local Groups and Units but some you might not even know about. As a charity, you can apply to pay VAT at the reduced rate of 5% on fuel (but not road fuel) which you use for genuine charitable purposes, heating your Group HQ for example. As an extra bonus to this, you’re also then automatically exempt from the Climate Change Levy too and your supplier has to change the lower rate of VAT if charitable status is established.

Who can claim this?
If you’re a registered charity then you will need to provide evidence to your supplier of your charity status – in most cases a charity number will do. If you’re not yet registered with the charity commission, then suppliers should accept a recognition of charitable status from HMRC but it’s probably sufficient to tell your supplier that your group is an ‘Excepted Charity’ – but don’t get this confused with ‘exempt’, they’re not the same thing.

How do I make a claim?
The best way to make a claim is to contact your utility company directly and request a form – there might even be one available on their website. The form will ask for a date when the Group became eligible for the reduced rate (and in most cases, this date will be in the past). The earliest is 1 April 1973 when VAT was introduced, or when the group was formed or contracted for fuel.

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