According to new draft guidance published today; private schools will be able to keep their charitable status by offering out their sports facilities and theatres, and by sharing playing fields.
Under current legislation, fee-paying schools – many of which are charities – must prove that they benefit children who cannot afford their fees, in order to keep their charitable status and the tax breaks which come with it.
However, under the new guidance which can be found within a consultation document published by the charity commission, it has now been suggested that by allowing state-educated pupils to attend certain lessons, or seconding teachers to take classes in local state schools could now count.
Other examples included within the consultation document include allowing local state schools to use their facilities, such as swimming pools, sports halls, playing fields and arts and concert halls.
Dame Suzi Leather, the Commission’s chair said of the proposed guidelines: “Public benefit is the defining characteristic of charity but is a far from simple concept.
“We have worked hard to write guidance that accurately reflects the law but is accessible for a charity trustee who just wants to know what to think about when making decisions that might affect their charity’s public benefit.”
She added: “We hope the online format will make this easier. We invite comments on both the form and content of the revised guidance and also hope that the consultation blog will enable real time responses to views expressed.”
Along with suggesting sharing sport facilities, it has also been disclosed within the new guidance that schools would no longer have to provide free or subsided places to stay in business and retain millions of pounds in tax breaks.
As an accountant, Gill Freeman specialises within academy finances and charity tax.