Practice Areas & Industries: Withers Bergman LLP


Philanthropy & Charitable Giving Return to Practice Areas & Industries

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Practice/Industry Group Overview

Increasingly, successful people wish to use their wealth to make the world a better place, in their own lifetime and beyond.

There are many different ways to support a worthwhile cause, each of which can have different legal and financial implications for the donor. Drawing on our experience in the fields of not-for profit and charity law and tax advice, our philanthropy and charitable giving team has extensive experience of finding the most appropriate way of achieving clients' philanthropic aspirations in their differing circumstances.

In some cases, clients will wish to support existing charitable entities; in other circumstances, establishing a new charitable foundation may be the preferred way of furthering individual philanthropic aims. Our team can also help clients considering other ways of making a difference, whether through projects such as venture philanthropy and microfinance, or by adopting a policy of ‘social responsible investment'.

When it comes to the establishment of their own foundations, clients will have differing wishes. Some will want to maintain a high profile, playing an active role and being closely involved in decision making, perhaps involving other members of their family; some will wish to maintain their anonymity; and some will prefer to leave the decision making to others. We can advise on the optimum location, format, and governance arrangements to address clients' wishes. But once the foundation has been established, our advice need not stop there. We can provide on-going advice in relation to governance, grant making and other legal issues, both in the UK and the US.

Although no one supports philanthropic projects simply to save tax, most donors will wish to ensure that their support is delivered as tax-efficiently as possible - and our team has the knowledge and experience to help. Whilst many of our clients operate only in their own domestic contexts, many will have connections with several different jurisdictions, giving rise to international tax issues.

We advise our clients on the various methods of supporting their chosen causes and their implications in the UK, the US and elsewhere, including the application of UK and US tax relief in relation to gifts of money, property and other assets, whether made during life or on death. We have considerable experience in the establishment of dual-qualified US/UK charitable structures to enable philanthropists who are subject both to UK and US tax to give tax- efficiently and have helped many clients structure their cross-border charitable giving where other jurisdictions have been involved.

Recent work

  • Advising established foundations including the Batty, Chapman, George Drexler and Garfield Weston and Foundations/Charitable Trusts.
  • Establishing charitable foundations for various high-profile individuals including Peter Harrison and Roger de Haan.
  • Advising the Matisse Foundation.
  • Working closely with several charities, including the Garfield Weston and the Paul Hamlyn Foundations, on the issues of grant-making and good governance.
  • Advising the De Haan Charitable Foundation in the establishment of two Academies and an arts and regeneration project.
  • Advising a private foundation on qualifying donated land as a public park.

Articles Authored by Lawyers at this office:

Cabinet Office Releases Implementation Plan for the Charities Act 2016
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, July 21, 2016
Whilst the Charities Act 2016 (the 'Act') received Royal Assent on 16 March 2016, only two administrative provisions (reviews of the operation of the Act and short title, extent and commencement) came into force immediately; the other provisions are being brought into force by commencement orders...

Charity Commission's Reports into the Funding Of Advocacy Group Cage Published
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, July 21, 2016
On 6 May 2016, the Charity Commission published its long-awaited reports on the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust ('JRCT') and the Roddick Foundation's ('RF's') funding of the controversial advocacy group, Cage. In parallel, similarly-worded documents, the regulator said both charities had acted in...

Court Of Appeal Dismisses Judicial Review Challenge to Grant of Royal Charter
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, July 21, 2016
In R (Project Management Institute) v Minister for the Cabinet Office and others [2016] EWCA Civ 21, the Court of Appeal upheld a decision of the Privy Council to recommend the grant of a Royal Charter to a charitable professional association. This was the first time that a decision to grant a...

How Will Brexit Affect Employment Rights and Obligations
Christina Morton,Meriel Schindler, July 21, 2016
The referendum in the UK has returned a result that confirms that the majority of those who voted wish to leave the EU. What is the impact of Brexit on employment rights, many of which, it is said, depend on European law?

New Filing Obligations at Companies House
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, July 21, 2016
From 30 June the annual return is to be replaced with an annual confirmation statement; the statement should be less burdensome for charitable companies to complete as it simply requires confirmation that all changes in circumstances, such as the appointment and retirement of directors/trustees and...

Wake up Call for Charities - The Common Reporting Standard is Here
Alana Petraske, June 14, 2016
Although the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) catches charities in its due diligence and reporting net, its potentially onerous impact remains largely unrecognised by the charities sector. As the first reporting year runs into its sixth month, we've been working with sector bodies and HMRC on...

Charity Commission's Report Provides Guidance to Trustees on Working with Professional Fundraisers and Fundraising Costs
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, June 09, 2016
Our Local Heroes Foundation (the 'Charity') was set up to relieve the financial hardship of people who have served in the armed forces and are in need by making grants. Following complaints that only 20% of funds raised went to the Charity and that the public were being misled and not properly...

Charity Commission's Report into Age UK's Arrangement with E.ON Published
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, June 09, 2016
In February 2016, several newspapers reported that Age UK (the 'Charity') received £6 million a year from the energy supplier, E.ON, to promote the Age UK fixed 2 year energy tariff to older people and that this tariff was more expensive than others available. Following the press reports, the...

Disclosure of Ownership of UK Property
Lindsay Brown,Christopher Groves,Justine Markovitz, June 09, 2016
At the international anti-corruption summit today David Cameron has announced significant proposals that will affect foreign owners of UK property.

HMRC Launches Consultation into Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, June 09, 2016
Following a call for evidence in December, HMRC has launched a consultation into the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (the 'scheme'). The consultation closes on 1 July 2016.

New Ad Hoc Committee on Sustaining the Charity Sector and the Challenges of Governance
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, June 09, 2016
The House of Lords' Liaison Committee has passed a motion to create a new ad hoc committee for this Parliament. The new committee will consider issues of best practice, transparency and accountability in the charity sector, and will sit for the duration of this session of parliament, which began on...

Cabinet Office Amends Its Grant Agreements to Limit Lobbying
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, May 10, 2016
All government grant agreements will now include a clause which prevents government funding from being used to lobby for new regulation or to lobby for more government funding. The government argues that freedom of speech will be protected as the clause will not prevent charities from using money...

Gender Pay Gap Reporting - The Draft Legislation Explained
Christina Morton,Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, May 10, 2016
Mandatory gender pay gap reporting has been under discussion for some years. The Equality Act 2010 includes a provision that enables the Government to require employers to publish information about differences in pay between men and women in their workforces.

Charity Commission Publishes Guidance for Charities Campaigning in the Run Up to the EU Referendum
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, April 28, 2016
On 6 March 2016, the Charity Commission published regulatory guidance for charities considering public involvement in the debate leading up to the EU referendum on 23 June 2016. This guidance sits alongside the Charity Commission's general guidance on campaigning and political activity by charities.

Fundraising Preference Service Proposals Published
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, April 28, 2016
The working party on the Fundraising Preference Service (the 'FPS') has published a discussion paper with proposals on how the service will be developed. The working party has discussed these proposals with stakeholders and we await to see the outcome of those discussions.

Guidance Published For Charities Funding Non-Charitable Organisations
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, April 28, 2016
The Charity Commission has published new guidance for charities which fund non-charitable organisations. The guidance explains the various points which trustees should consider when making the decision to fund non-charitable organisations.

The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016
Alison Paines,Chris Priestley, April 28, 2016
The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 (the 'Act') received Royal Assent on 16 March 2016. The Charities Act has been amended many times since its first reading in the House of Lords last May and we have set out below the provisions which made it into the Act. At present, the...

Shining a Light on the British Gender Pay Gap
Peter Finding,Christina Morton, March 30, 2016
Private and third sector employers with at least 250 employees will now have their pay gaps highlighted under new legislation. Employers will need to publish an annual report ¿ and whilst the plans may change, under current proposals they will need to start compiling the information from 30...

UK Budget 2016: CGT, Stamp Duty, More Anti-Avoidance and a Boost for Entrepreneurs
Sophie Dworetzsky,Katie Graves,Christopher Groves,Judith Ingham,Gillian Johnson, March 30, 2016
Against what he described as a backdrop of storm clouds gathering, George Osborne sought to deliver an upbeat Budget with a surprising amount of good news.