Charity Tax Group Expert Insight Training Sessions

CTG runs a programme of monthly webinars, open to all members, on topical tax issues for charities. Launched in 2021, the meetings take place in a virtual format and take place for an hour at the end of the day. Sessions are addressed by expert speakers with a mixture of presentations and panel discussions. Slides and recordings of previous sessions can be found below.

Promoting Philanthropy (26 June 2024)

In our latest Expert Insight session on 26 June, Trudi Amy, one of CTG’s Directors, was joined by Cathy Pharoah, Visiting Professor of Charity Funding at Bayes Business School, Philip Spedding, a CTG Director and Head of Philanthropy at Royal Albert Hall and Shivani Menon, Senior Researcher at the think tank Onward.

Cathy Pharoah discussed the findings of her recent work on scoping the philanthropy of high-net-worth donors and the challenges for policy and fundraising development where market information is weak. Philip Spedding discussed the sector’s need for major gifts (rebuilding reserves, capital campaigns etc), changing priorities in the donor community, the emerging effects of non-domiciled tax changes and ethics challenges. Shivani Menon presented the Onward Report on philanthropy, with a specific focus on the report sections that analyse the best ways Gift Aid should be reformed and why Gift Aid is important for promoting philanthropy and ‘Giving Back Better’.

You can watch a recording of the session here.

Business rates (12 September 2023)

In our latest Expert Insight session on 12 September, CTG’s Chair, Richard Bray, was joined by John Webber of Colliers, who presented his third annual update for CTG members on ‘The current state of Business Rates for charities’. John has over 35 years’ experience in the rating industry and leads Colliers’ 135-strong rating team. He is a chartered surveyor and a former member of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).

In the session, John explained the process by which Business Rates are set. He drew attention to the unique circumstances of the 2023 rating list, being based on the hypothetical rental value of properties on 1 April 2021, when the country was in Covid lockdown. John argued that this presents a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to lower the base valuation, potentially for some years to come. Charities are encouraged to challenge VOA valuations which are very likely to be significantly wrong. He went on to describe the new annual compliance responsibilities of charities under the Non-Domestic Rating Bill, which is expected to pass into law shortly, and why it is important for charities to respond to the Government’s Consultation on Business Rates avoidance and evasion which closes on 28 September. Finally, he looked forward to what may happen with Business Rates following the next General Election.

You can watch a recording of the session here and access the slides here.

Recent court and tribunal VAT decisions (5 July 2023)

In our latest Expert Insights session on 5 July, CTG’s Chair, Richard Bray, was joined by our new Technical Adviser, Kerry Sykes. Kerry was, for 17 years, Head of Tax at Cambridge University before spending six years as a Director of Tax at KPMG. He now runs his own tax practice, based in Leicester. In this session, Kerry provided his introduction to charity VAT updating members about recent court and tribunal VAT decisions. He suggested how charities can utilise VAT opportunities as well as alerting them to threats from the VAT system. You can watch a recording of the session here and access the slides here.

The new VAT penalties and interest regime (29 March 2023)

From 1 January 2023 there is a new regime covering penalties for late submission of VAT Returns and for VAT which is paid late. The way that interest is charged has also changed. For most charities, the changes will take effect from the VAT quarter ended 31 March. In this session, Charlotte Page and Emma Ryan of Price Bailey Chartered Accountants take us through the new rules, with worked examples to illustrate the changes. You can watch a recording of the session here and access the slides here.

Payroll giving (22 February 2023)

In payroll giving month, Michael Duncan (NatWest Bank), Mervi Slade (Cancer Research UK) and Ollie Lashbrook (Macmillan Cancer Support) joined CTG’s Chair, Richard Bray, to discuss payroll giving for charities. You can watch a recording of the session here and access the slides here.

Topical charity tax developments (16 November 2022)

CTG’s Chair, Richard Bray, was joined by CTG’s Technical Adviser, Graham Elliott for a technical update and Q&A session. You can watch a recording of the session here and access the slides here.

Employment taxes (25 October 2022)

This session identified pitfalls in dealing with employment taxes for the unwary charity. Topics covered included: Hybrid/agile working abroad; Home working v home as a workplace; IR35; NICs changes and holiday pay changes. You can catch up on the recording and slides here.

Salary sacrifice considerations relating to electric vehicles (14 September 2022)

Our speakers were Colin Jones, Fleet Manager, Cancer Research UK; Nick Bustin, Director of Employment Tax, Haysmacintyre; and Nick Fairman, and Bertie Morse from SG Fleet. A recording of the session can be accessed here (approx 1 hour) and the slides can be accessed here.

SwiftAid/JustGiving integration and Gift Aid cleansing (14 July 2022)

JustGiving and Streeva (which operates the SwiftAid solution) have joined together to integrate their systems to help maximise Gift Aid claims. Oliver Shaw Latimer, Director of Global Fintech at Blackbaud and David Michael, CEO and founder of Streeva provide an update on their progress at a CTG Expert Insight Session on 14 July 2022. You can access the Presentation slides and Meeting recording. The presentation also provided a fascinating insight into the extensive data cleansing systems JustGiving now has in place to ensure data is valid and the donation is eligible for Gift Aid – refer to slides 8-10 of the presentation for further details.

Relationship between charities and their tax advisers (15 June 2022)

Taking tax advice can often result in significant tax savings and avoid problems for charities, but what type of questions should they be asking of their advisers and how to relate this to their practical experiences at the coal face. Our panellists included Louise Hillman, Head of Finance at the Medical Research Foundation and Trudi Amy, Tax Accountant at Macmillan Cancer Support (and formerly a Tax Director at Mazars and Grant Thornton), as well as Paul Knight, Head of Not-for Profit Tax and Partner at BDO. The panel shared their experiences and participated in a Q&A session. You can watch a recording of the webinar here (approx 1 hour) and view the slides here.

Employment taxes (22 March 2022)

An expert panel from accountants RSM UK, reviewed important employment tax and PAYE considerations for charities as the end of the tax year approaches. Issues they covered included: Health and Social Care levy; Off payroll working; Volunteer payments; Hybrid working; Salary sacrifice; Holiday pay. A recording of the session can be accessed here and the presentation slides can be downloaded here.

Business rates developments (23 February 2022)

Business rates expert John Webber, from Colliers, reviewed recent rating developments and highlighted a number of important opportunities and threats facing charities. The recording of the session can be accessed here and the presentation slides can be viewed here.

Payroll Giving opportunities (18 January 2022)

Representatives from Barnardo’s and Together for Animals shared why they think Payroll Giving is very important and should be better promoted as a fundraising tool for charities. They provided practical help on how you can engage with Payroll Giving and promoted Payroll Giving Week which is taking place 7-13 February. The recording of the session can be accessed here and the presentation slides can be viewed here.

Tax issues relevant to smaller charities (1 December 2021)

Joining CTG Chair, Richard Bray, was Alexandra Gear (CTG Director and Director of Finance Operations at the MS Trust) and Les Howard (VAT consultant at Rachel Cooper (Finance Lead at the Small Charities Coalition and Director of Embrace Finance) was unfortunately unable to make the session, but shared some thoughts in advance that were relayed to the charities and advisers present. The speakers shared tips about smaller charities can tackle tax issues. Key takeaways were that it was very important to be aware of general tax and finance developments, ensure joined up thinking within an organisation and where necessary take professional advice. Charities and advisers can access the recording (approx 1 hour) and presentation slides.

Future of the tax system (1 November 2021)

Pierre Arman and Carolyn Norfolk from EY explored the tax administration trends emerging globally and a look forward as to how technology could shape Tax functions in the future. Pierre and Carolyn discussed the emerging trends around real-time reporting and e-invoicing globally, examine the ‘Art of the Possible’ when it comes to technology to equip members to have discussions with Senior Finance Stakeholders and IT around transformation of the tax function from a responsive, compliance function to a pro-active true business partner focusing on value add function. You can watch a recording of this fascinating session here and access the slides here.

VAT developments (15 September 2021)

CTG’s latest Expert Insight Session took place on 15 September 2021 and included a summary of VAT developments from CTG’s Technical Adviser, Graham Elliott. This included updates on: the COVID Changes/Concessions; Literature VAT Liability; Charity Advertising; Partial Exemption; Change of Building Use; Welfare; Grants v Supplies; and possible future VAT reforms.  You can now access the slides and a recording (approx 1 hour) and we hope that you find this to be a useful resource.

Brexit: 6 months on (22 July 2021)

This session considered the “implications of Brexit: six months on for charities and included panellists from BUFDG, RNLI and HW Fisher. This was a very interesting session with lots of practical feedback and we encourage all charities and advisers to watch the recording (approx 1 hour) and read the slides. To share feedback on your own experiences of Brexit to date please contact

Gift Aid user research by HMRC (10 June 2021)

What do donors really understand about Gift Aid? Do they know whether they have paid enough tax to cover their Gift Aid claim? What level of awareness is there about the scheme and what more could charities do to promote it?

HMRC recently undertook research with a user panel to find out and project lead Gruff Weston shared their findings with CTG members on 10 June 2021.

A recording of the session can be accessed here and slides can be accessed here.

Tackling the Gift Aid gap – new integration between JustGiving and SwiftAid (27 May 2021)

JustGiving and Streeva (which operates the SwiftAid solution) are joining together to integrate their systems to help maximise Gift Aid claims. Oliver Shaw Latimer, Director of Global Fintech at Blackbaud and David Michael, CEO and founder of Streeva addressed the following issues in their session.

  • The challenge of the ‘Gift Aid gap’ – why it’s there, why it’s an increasing problem, how much the sector is losing through this
  • Narrowing the gap through retrospective claims
  • New JustGiving and Swiftaid integration and benefits to charities
  • Possible future functional extensions (including via Open Banking, individual taxpayer profiles via ‘deeper’ connection to HMRC, wider network integrations).

A recording of the session can be accessed here (approx 1 hour) and the slides can be downloaded here. We hope to publish responses to all the questions that were unanswered during the meeting in due course.

Employment tax issues for charities (28 April 2021)

Over 130 charities and advisers participated in this session on employment tax issues for charities, which included speakers from BUFDG, Deloitte and Haysmacintyre. The panellists discussed HMRC compliance action on the Job Retention Scheme, new IR35 rules, employment status and issues relating to remote and international working.

A recording of the session can be accessed here (approx 1 hour) and the slides can be downloaded here.

Fiscal environment and tax landscape for charities following the Budget (30 March 2021)

An expert panel reviewed the fiscal environment and tax landscape for charities following the recent Budget and Tax Day. Participants, led by CTG Chair, Richard Bray, included:

  • Matthew Whittaker, CEO, Pro Bono Economics
  • Richard Wild, Head of the Technical Tax Team, Chartered Institute of Taxation
  • Nicola Evans, Charities Counsel, BDB Pitmans
  • Graham Elliott, CTG Technical Adviser

The presentation slides can be downloaded here and you can view a recording of the session here.

Business Rates (24 February 2021)

John Webber, Head of Rating at Colliers International provided an overview of the business rates questions charities should be asking, encourage them to consider whether COVID-19 has resulted in a material change in their circumstances for rates purposes.  While there is no immediate indication that charitable rates relief is under threat, we must continue to demonstrate its value and importance to our sector. John encouraged us to ‘lobby’ for the sector and that is what we intend to do!

John recently produced a commentary for CTG on what charities should be concerned about with regards to business rates. CTG’s response the Fundamental Review of Business Rates (England) can be read here.

A recording of the session can be viewed here. If you would like to contact John, please do so via

Brexit (27 January 2021)

The second session, on Wednesday 27 January 2021, focused on the tax implications of Brexit for charities. It included a series of short presentations from representatives from HMRC, DCMS, BUFDG, and Bates Wells. The slides from the meeting are available here and a recording of the session can be viewed here (approx 1 hour). Andrea Marshall, Tax Specialist at BUFDG has also kindly shared with CTG members their Post 1 January 2021 guide to Imports. This is written with a university audience in mind but is worth reading for any charities involved with imports.

Making Tax Digital for VAT: Digital Links (14 January 2021 and 25 February 2021)

HMRC officials have participated in two sessions with CTG members to answer their questions on digital links requirements that become mandatory for Making Tax Digital for VAT from 1 April 2021.

The slides from the meeting with HMRC in January (providing an overview of MTD for VAT) are available here and a recording of the session can be viewed here.

The slides from the February meeting (mainly focused on charity questions on “digital links) can be downloaded here and you can view a recording of the session here. You may well find it helpful to review their answers and the practical help that you can find in the VAT Notice. We have asked HMRC to provide written responses to the questions discussed during the meeting and the other questions that were submitted. If you have any other outstanding questions about digital links, please send them to

Following these two sessions we would welcome feedback from you about your implementation of digital links and whether you feel better informed about HMRC’s requirements from April.