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Calls for VAT Exemption for Wills Containing Charitable Bequests

Charity consortium Remember A Charity has called on the UK Government to do more to encourage legacy giving by making the cost of writing a will containing a charitable bequest exempt from VAT.

According to the consortium this could lead to a 100% increase in the number of people choosing to include charitable bequests in their wills, which could create additional income for charities of up to £800 million.

“We are calling on Government to introduce a VAT exemption on the cost of writing all wills that include a charitable gift,” explained Rob Cope, Director of Remember A Charity. “While this change would come at a relatively low cost to Government, this could make a huge difference to charities, giving solicitors and will-writers cause to highlight the option and benefits of legacy giving with all clients. We need to ensure that legacy giving is not just something reserved for the wealthiest in society; that it is something we are all given the opportunity to do.”

Legacy giving is a vital source of funds for charities, and accounts for £2.5 billion of charitable income each year. According to Remember A Charity’s figures, charitable gifts were included in 37,262 wills across the UK last year.

The call for a VAT exemption has been supported by the Institute of Fundraising and Charity Finance Group.

“This small change in the cost of writing a will could make a massive difference in the number of people who decide to leave a gift to charity,” commented Mike Smith, Head of Public Affairs at the Institute of Fundraising.  “The Government has been really supportive of efforts to increase legacy giving, and we are encouraging them to back this small reduction in tax to help raise millions more for good causes.”

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