As a result of changes in the Charities Act the trust, as a charity, recently revised its articles to bring them in to line with the act and best practice, however the trust was not advised that changes were required in the bespoke fund system. Recent advice has meant changing our method of operation. This will require several documentary changes which will be circulated to fund holders prior to the trust re-commencing operation.
There is a fundamental difference between a charity and a trust fund. A charity like, The Skiers Trust of Great Britain, makes grants which are governed by their articles, a trust fund on the other hand is reserved and restricted for one individual. All donations to the Skiers Trust must be made free of any conditions or restrictions. This has always been the case but appears not to have been understood by some fund holders. In addition donors are required to follow the connected person rules as laid down by HMRC and the trust has documented this but it is not required to investigate the donor’s connection with any potential grant recipient. Donors may request that a grant be made to a grant applicant but this cannot constitute a condition or restriction of the donation.
To ensure we comply with current legislation all applicants will become part of a pool of talent at the discretion of the trustees. Donors will donate to a general fund and grants will be made from the general fund to members of the pool and have certain conditions and restrictions which the recipient must follow. Such funds will be described as designated funds and will be held in a Grant Award Fund and can be drawn on by the recipient when expenses are incurred.
The Trust, from time to time, is subject to HMRC inspection which took place in May and at that time the trust was required to tell HMRC if there were any suspicions that the rules regarding gift aid were not being followed. This was included as part of the inspection after which HMRC are required to advise the trust of what further measures need to be undertaken.
HMRC have apologised for the length of time it has taken but would be making a ruling in the near future. This was over two months ago and despite being in contact with the inspector since then there has still not been a ruling.
The trust’s finances are still fully in order as the present annual audit will show. However the trust cannot return to operation until this ruling has been given by HMRC
The Trustees wish to re-emphasise their gratitude to all fund holders and donors for their patience throughout the past 12 months; we have full confidence that within the next few weeks, operation of the Trust will recommence and we will get back to doing what we do best and is our sole purpose – namely aiding British skiers and snow boarders.