Tax reliefs for charities


As a charity you don’t pay tax on most of your income and gains if you use it for charitable purposes – this is known as ‘charitable expenditure’.

This includes tax:

  • On donations
  • On profits from trading
  • On rental or investment income, eg bank interest
  • On profits when you sell or ‘dispose of’ an asset, like property or shares
  • When you buy property

To get tax relief you must be recognised by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Community amateur sports clubs (CASCs) get different tax reliefs.

When you do pay tax

Charities pay tax on:

  • Dividends received from UK companies before 6 April 2016
  • Profits from developing land or property
  • Purchases – but there are special VAT rules for charities
  • Charities pay business rates on non-domestic buildings, but they get an 80% discount.

You must pay tax on any money you don’t use for charitable purposes. This is known as ‘non-charitable expenditure’.

Pay tax

You must complete a tax return if your charity needs to pay tax or if HMRC asks you to.

Reclaim tax

You can claim back tax that’s been deducted, eg on:

  • Donations (this is known as Gift Aid)
  • Bank interest