Charity shops must sell goods that are wholly or mainly donated

I AGREE with the sentiments in your article of January 31 that charity shops gain an unfair advantage if they are operating under normal, retail conditions.

The statutory deduction is in fact 80 per cent, so a lot higher than the 50 per cent you referred to, and district councils have the option of topping up this relief with an extra 20 per cent allowance, leaving the charity with a zero rate bill.

However, there is one very important point that I must bring to your attention. The Local Government Finance Act 1988 says that, to benefit from this charitable rate relief, the charity shop must sell goods that are wholly or mainly donated.

This is very significant and it rests with district council to assess this and reach a decision. It has a duty to refuse charity relief in circumstances where the goods are not wholly or mainly donated.

With regard to the extra 20 per cent top-up which councillors can award at their discretion, most of this extra award is paid for by council tax payers.

So councillors could quite justifiably take the view that, rather than get every council tax payer to support that charity out of money taken from scarce local authority coffers, if an individual wishes to support that charity they could shop there or make their own donation.


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