Creating a charitable trust in the UK

While I was on the 4th British Patristics Conference last week, there was mention of creating a “British Patristics Society”, and a charitable trust for it.  I suspect that such a thing would become an avenue for “imperial ambitions”, but I was wondering just how one would do such a thing.  British taxes are now so high, and so omnipresent, that the opportunity to avoid them, when doing things for public benefit, is something that one might explore.  Possibly the process of commissioning translations for free distribution might fall under this heading.

I started by looking for a random charity — was there a “St Luke’s Trust”?  There was: and it’s a tiddler.  Income in 2011 was £1500, outgoings £2500.  It has two trustees, and exists for various general charitable purposes, much as something I would operate would do.  It’s Activities consisted of “GIFTS TO INDIVIDUALS OR ORGANISATIONS WITHIN FIELDS OF OPERATION AS DETAILED BELOW”.  Most interestingly, it’s accounts were labelled “Not required”. 

The home page for the charity has interesting and useful links on the left (which is good website design).  It seems, from Reporting Requirements and What information must trustees send us, that a trust with income less than £10,000 per year need not file accounts, which means that you don’t need to hire accountants and do tedious formal stuff.  This is really rather praiseworthy. 

Other information is here, which tells me that, for purposes of registration, a charity must have an income of more than £5,000 a year (which does not seem to be fulfilled by the St Luke’s Trust).  Paragraph 69 suggests that some contortions are necessary to create the account to hold the money that will then allow the application which will allow the account to become that for a charity (!).

I will need to consider whether to do this.  Much of what I do online would fall within the aims of an educational charity, and it might allow my funds to go further if I didn’t have to pay tax on the money I contribute to them.  The only barrier would be paperwork; and it looks as if this might be less than I had imagined.

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