In late 2015, the Government commissioned an independent review on the effectiveness of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).
Charities benefit from mandatory and discretionary relief from CIL, introduced in the Planning Act 2008, following a successful campaign by several charity representative bodies. In response to the review, the Charities’ Property Association (CPA), the Churches’ Legislation Advisory Service (CLAS) and the Charity Tax Group (CTG) emphasised the ongoing importance of the charity exemption and the need for the claiming mechanism to be as simple as possible.
The independent CIL Review team has now published its report A new approach to developer contributions, which recommends scrapping CIL and replacing it with a hybrid Local Infrastructure Tariff (LIT) and s 106 for larger developments, alongside a possible new Strategic Infrastructure Tariff (SIT). Disappointingly, the review recommends that there be “no (or very few) exemptions”.
Responding to the publication of the review, the chairmen of the three organisations – Lord Cameron of Dillington (CPA), the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, Bishop of Derby (CLAS) and John Hemming (CTG) – issued a joint statement:
“While we welcome efforts to improve and simplify the current CIL rules, we are very disappointed that the Review team has not made a firm commitment to introducing an equivalent charity exemption of any successor tax. Charities should not be penalised because the Community Infrastructure Levy has not generated the anticipated financial returns and the rationale for an exemption remains valid. Charities should not be taxed for development of land for charitable purposes (including social housing) or when leasing land to other charities and the original CIL campaign group will be seeking urgent assurances from the Government that a charity exemption will be included if a Local Infrastructure Tariff is introduced”.
Notes to editors
Background to the Community Infrastructure Levy
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a tax levied by a local authority on the carrying out of a qualifying development in England and Wales. The objective of CIL is to fund expenditure on certain types of infrastructure. In very broad terms, CIL is charged at £X per square metre on the increase in gross internal area. The local authority may set different rates for different types of development. The detailed provisions are set out in the Planning Act 2008 and the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010.
Charitable relief is mandatory where a charity owns a material interest if the development is to be used wholly or mainly for a charitable purpose of the charity in question or of that charity and another charity (or charities). If the development is left unoccupied, it is still eligible for charitable relief. There is no mandatory relief if that part of development to be used for charitable purposes will not be occupied or under the control of a charity, or if the material interest is owned jointly by a charity and a non-charity, or if the relief would constitute a State Aid.
Discretionary charitable relief is available potentially if mandatory charitable relief would have been available apart from the fact that the above State Aid condition is not met. In this case, the local authority may allow charitable relief provided that it does not constitute a State Aid that needs to be notified to and approved by the European Commission. Another type of discretionary charitable relief – relief for investments – is potentially available if certain eligibility criteria are met.
Further background information on CIL can be found here.
The Charities’ Property Association (CPA) represents charities which own and manage properties as investments. CPA focuses on charities that hold land to sustain their charitable purposes, which includes environmental protection and conservation. and represents almost 100 charities with significant property portfolios, including charitable housing trusts, Oxford and Cambridge colleges, Anglican cathedrals, and major public schools. For more details visit www.charity-property.org.uk.
The Churches’ Legislation Advisory Service (CLAS) is an ecumenical charity that brings together all the major Churches in the United Kingdom (and, because the umbrella ecumenical bodies are members, many of the smaller Churches as well), together with the United Synagogue. Though it is a body composed of religious organisations its focus is not “religious” as such; rather, its primary purpose is to represent to Government its members’ views on issues of secular law as they affect their interests. For more details visit www.churcheslegislation.org.uk.
The Charity Tax Group (CTG) has over 500 members of all sizes representing all types of charitable activity. It was established in 1982 to make representations to Government on charity taxation and it has since become the leading voice for the sector on this issue. CTG has persuaded successive Governments to introduce a range of tax reliefs and has also campaigned successfully to protect existing concessions, saving charities a considerable amount of money in the process. For more details visit www.charitytaxgroup.org.uk. CTG’s response to the CIL review can be read here.
For further information or additional comment please contact 020 7222 1265.