The Fund, The Charities Commission and the Truth

There was much speculation last night on Twitter about the Find Madeleine Fund and the Charities Commission, with many people saying the McCann’s were denied charity status.

Yes the anti-McCanns have yet again jumped in with both feet and landed firmly on their backside.

The truth is this.

On May 20th 2007 the Sunday Times ran an article, included in that article was the following:

Tax blow for search fund

In addition, the fund will not benefit from gift aid, a form of tax relief that allows charities to claim from the government an additional 28p for every £1 they receive in donations. And tax will have to be paid on all interest accrued by the fund.

Last night the Treasury refused to intervene, insisting it was the preserve of HM Revenue & Customs to decide tax liability.

The development will embarrass Gordon Brown who told Madeleine’s family last week he would do all he could to help on “a practical and a personal level”.

The decision on charitable status could hit the family’s efforts to trace Madeleine. Her parents Kate and Gerry are considering hiring a private investigator amid concern over the way police have handled the hunt. A FUND to finance the international search for Madeleine McCann will be forced to pay Vat and denied tax breaks worth tens of thousands of pounds after being refused charitable status writes Mark Macaskill.

The Madeleine fund has already received almost £80,000 from the public and businesses. Madeleine’s parents had hoped for charity status for the fund but were turned down by the Charity Commission because the money raised is not for the “wider public good”.

Instead, the fund has been registered as a company, which means it is liable to pay Vat at 17.5% on advertising costs and goods designed to raise funds, such as stickers. Charities are eligible for “zero rate” tax relief on such expenses.

Once the Times printed that article, a statement was issued by the Charities Commission via Charity News Alert, in which the following was stated:

Gareth Jones
May, 2007

The Charity Commission has denied a report in The Times newspaper that it refused to award charitable status to the fund set up by the parents of missing child Madeleine McCann to finance the international search effort.

The Commission was quoted in the article as saying the money raised was not for the “wider public good”, but has told Charity News Alert the story had been “misreported”.
“We were first approached for our advice about the possibility of a fund to assist the parents’ search on Monday 14 May,” explained a spokeswoman for the Commission. “We held discussions with the family’s lawyers and in the end they decided not to pursue that route.”

Since the disappearance of Madeleine from a holiday villa in the Algarve, Portugal, on 3 May, the story has captured the public’s sympathy and filled column inches in both the tabloids and the broadsheets. The search fund, known as Madeleine’s Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned, has so far raised over £184,000 from the public and businesses.

So the truth of the matter is, they WERE NOT denied Charity Status, the Lawyers just held discussions and then proceeded to take the route that the fund would have Company Status and be registered with Companies House.

I suppose the Charities Commission are now “in on it”.

Source for this information is from the McCann Files


4 comments on “The Fund, The Charities Commission and the Truth

  1. Bren, I have always been under the impression that the “misreporting” concerned the word “refused” and that a charity could have been established if the aims and beneficiaries had been much broader (e.g. a general missing kids support organisation). Until Madeleine is found and the perpetrators brought to justice, this, of course, is not the aim.  

    There is also this restriction:”Aims which are not for the public benefit16. In general, aims are not charitable if they are mainly for the benefit of a named person or specific individuals. They will also not be charitable if the people who will benefit from them are defined by a personal or contractual relationship with each other. For example, if the beneficiaries are related or connected to the person who is setting up the charity, or where they are defined by common employment or by membership of a non-charitable body, for example, members of a professional institute.”http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/publications/cc21.aspx

  2. Yes, I can well imagine the lawyers making enquiries with the Charity Commission and them saying well if you do it this way and that way, we will give you Charity Status.

    The Fund was designed to Find Madeleine, they have always said that once she is found and the perpetrator brought to justice they would donate remaining funds.

    If the McCann’s had just opened a building society account and shoved the money in there and used it as and when that would not be right in some people’s eyes.  They create a company in order for transparency and that is wrong.

    Nothing these parents seem to do is right for some people.

    Isn’t it about time they really let go of their loathing and hate for the McCanns and did what is in Madeleine’s best interests and that is to find her?

  3. I remember this back in 2010 when Sarah Payne was told she could not act as trustee to her own charity

    Campaigner Sara Payne has spoken of her anger after she was told she could not act as trustee of her own charity.

    Mrs Payne, whose daughter Sarah, eight, was murdered by paedophile Roy Whiting in 2000, launched The Phoenix Foundation in order to help the victims of paedophiles.

    But when registering the group with the Charities Commission earlier this year she was told she could not act as trustee as it would constitute a conflict of interest.

    The charity was intended to provide a free advocacy service, supporting victims and their families through the courts and other services. She has now had to hand over control of the charity to another party, a decision which she said has left her feeling “betrayed”.

    Mrs Payne said she and two associates applied in June to the commission to work as ‘unpaid trustees’ of the charity. Once they had raised the cash needed they would step down to undertake the victim’s advocacy work in accordance with the Charity Commissions rules.

    She explained: “The Charities Commission kept on claiming that we were applying or inferring that we were asking to be ‘paid trustees’ and claimed that my work on Sarah’s Law and as a victim’s advocate, created a potential conflict of interest that they would not explain – but that on those grounds – refused our application.

    “In the end, just last week, we were forced to put three different people up as trustees to get the foundation registered and as a result of being forced to do that, our organisation closed on Friday, we lost our staff and some of our funders.

    “She added: “I’ve dedicated the last ten years of my life to child protection and victim advocacy and against all the odds have managed to achieve so much and feel there is so much more I can do, I feel betrayed, devastated and confused that I can’t be a trustee of my own charity in order to raise funds for desperately needed services that are just not available anywhere else.”

    A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said The Phoenix Foundation had now been registered. She explained: “Before the registration was completed there were a number of issues that needed to be addressed, including resolving a potential conflict of interest that existed in the charity’s original application.

    “Charity trustees must avoid any personal conflicts of interest and generally are not entitled to receive any payment out of the charity’s funds. Where conflicts of interest do exist, these must be appropriately managed.”

    Read more: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/latest/2010/10/02/sara-payne-angry-at-charity-ruling-115875-22603841/#ixzz1dUsNUifV

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