No tax relief for charity because it stops charities doing politics!

Isn’t this a surprise from Ritchie?

More importantly, tax relief has been used to constrain charitable activity, particularly when a charity wishes to not just relieve poverty but to ask why the poor suffer the injustices society heaps upon them both here and around the world. That moves a charity into that dangerous arena of ‘politics’ that is denied to those who wish to receive tax relief. But is that simply a mechanism for enforcing control on a part of society that should be asking the important questions about the changes needed that would eliminate so many of the problems that charities exist to tackle? And as such is tax relief in practice acting as a powerful tool for maintaining the status quo that the biggest absolute givers (by amount, if not by proportion of either income or wealth) would rather not challenge?

Man who has written highly political reports for charities, man who is paid by a charity to do highly political work, insists that the tax relief that these charities enjoy should stop because it prevents them from funding highly political work and activists.

Whatever happened to know thyself?

29 thoughts on “No tax relief for charity because it stops charities doing politics!”

  1. I’m not sure what Ritchie’s point is.

    Is he suggesting charities aren’t nakedly political enough? Most of the big ones don’t even bother to hide their leftwing activism and taxpayer subsidy-seeking behaviour.

    AFAIK the law prevents them having political purposes, not political activities. In practice they are as political as they want to be.

  2. What on earth is he burbling on about? The slightest mention of poverty will have a representative of one of the ‘concerned’ charities on the box pressuring fo this that or the other. Certainly doesn’t stop charities being signatories to petitions to government either. Half the time, it’s not only tax relief they’re getting. it’s direct funding by the taxpayer.

  3. Oh heavens!
    I think he’s now complaining rich people give more money to charity.

    ” Higher rate taxpayers carry unequal votes in directing what causes benefit from charitable tax relief even though there is no evidence that as a proportion of disposable income they give more to charitable causes than others[x], and some evidence to the contrary[xi]. This leads to the possibility that the interests and concerns of those who are better off are over-represented in charitable activity.”

    I must try & get my hands on whatever he’s smoking. Or is the Norfolk Magic Mushroom crop.unusually good this year?

  4. I think this makes great sense. Since Labour allowed charities to “do politics”, it’s about time they were taxable, and this avoids the Revenue having to decide what is “too much politics”, which is strewn with pitfalls (see IRS, Obama administration).

    The fact that Ritchie is working against his own interests is hardly a problem. Go for it, Mr Tax Expert 🙂

  5. For Proggies, “charity” is a euphemism for activism. The purpose of setting up a charity is to “work for social change” and, if you have to hand out a bit of soup to tramps as well, that’s just an annoying accidental cost. Charities are activist reform groups, always have been.

    “Give them a ham sandwich, wrapped in scripture”, as William Booth said.

  6. If I had been paid a fair old whack of money by an organisation and then published a paper in an academic journal about it, I would have to make a declaration in the paper. Standard academic practice. Does the same not apply to Ritchie?

  7. See his latest post on his “economics” blog position beating Worstall’s:

    “But don’t worry – Worstall’s always at least one behind…..”

    So the delicious enmity between Ritchie and Worstall very much exists!

    See also his comment in the new blog about lawyers where he says:

    “But just telling me I’m a provincial ex-accountant (when I’m actually very much a current one) is not an argument; it’s just an insult.”

    This from the man whose comments are replete with what might reasonably be inferred to be insults of all kinds meted out to anyone who disagrees with him (trolls, far-right, wilfully closed-minded (that seem to you to be personified by anyone you know?), neo-liberals and, latest, Worstallites)!

    So far beyond parody we can only hope he might eventually disappear up his own ringpiece. Oh Infamy, Infamy, they’ve all got in Informe!

  8. Government tax relief to charity donors is a minor question compared to the fact that almost all the “charities” that do politics get the money to do so largely or entirely from the state.

    Such government sock puppets are simply a way of propagandising for ever more state parasitism. And for the state broadcaster to portray “a new report from a charity warns we need more spending on…..” as if it were actually reporting news.

  9. I don’t see what Ritchie’s problem is.

    Charities are permitted to engage in political campaigning as long as their campaign activities are within the scope of their charitable objects and their campaign is based on well founded research…


  10. “Are there any decent charities left in the UK?”

    Yes, I can’t put a number on it but there are several I contribute to which do not take money from the state or conduct political campaigns and fulfill their intended role. The most obvious probably is the RNLI.

  11. “Are there any decent charities left in the UK?”

    Blue Cross. Actually look after sick and abused animals rather than trying to prosecute people for hunting.

    Also any number of Christian run charities, which whatever one thinks of their religious views are very focused on providing aid and assistance to the poor, often in the poorest parts of the world. I would much rather give my money to a bunch of Christians to do something with than the typical Lefty do-gooders who run most major charities – the Christians will on the whole help people with it, the others will use it to try and change the world into their version of paradise.

  12. BraveFart

    On the subject of insults, I tried to engage hin polite discussion regarding his rehashed pension suggestions. My delicate cheeks flushed purple at the abuse I received; I am very hurt indeed.

  13. The logic is truly bizarre though and is an exact parallel with the call for private education to be banned:
    State school hids suffer disadvantage because their education isn’t up to the standards of their privately educated peers. The answer obviously therefore isn’t to do something to improve education in the state sector; no, it’s to ban private education.

    Here Ritchie argues that political activity precludes ‘charites’ from accessing tax relief (or threatens them with having it withdrawn; he isn’t entirely clear about this). So, to overcome this concern, we simply withdraw tax relief from all the others.

    Except in another essay I’ve read (I’ve got a life haven’t I) he argues for a flat relief to be given on ALL charitable contributions. So it isn’t clear what he is really wanting to say here, which really surprises me.

  14. If a charity feels constrained by the charity regulations it is free to cease to be a charity.

    bloke in spain,

    He is also twisting it into something perverse. Dickie is complaining that people who give more actual money to charity have greater influence on what charities do than people who don’t give as much actual money.

    What Dickie seems to be suggesting is something bordering on a conspiracy: That charity related tax relief is exploited by the wealthy who are also keen to prevent charities getting involved in the politics of wealth redistribution.

    Dickie wants to destroy the charity sector in order to save it (from wealthy donors…).

  15. Gareth

    It’s sort of the same logic the left uses to argue for e.g.
    – media being state-funded. The Public Service Broadcasters who live on public funds are supposedly the most independent media in the world and the only guarantee for democracy
    – parties being state-funded to ensure that they do not listen to “special interests”

    it is really consistent with their world view of government controlling all of the money in the economy

  16. @Gareth

    It’s long been my suspicion R Murphy Crusading Accountant’s simply a gig to rake money into the Murphy coffers. Undoubtedly got his eye on special adviser to the next government & a subsequent peerage.
    Said gig consists of pushing every resentment button in sight, often several at the same time. Hence the tendency to be self contradictory. The mistake is to look for any underlying logic to any of it, apart from Murphy’s own ambitions.
    But I do rather admire his technique in the creation of narratives. He does understand that most people never look any further than the the sound bite quotes. That his ‘technical’ waffle is purest garbage doesn’t matter because those buy the narratives aren’t interested in the underlying details. I wouldn’t even put it past him to manufacture the stuff intentionally. That his detractors expend energy trying to rubbish him just his admirers how correct he must be. Hence the Great Neo-Liberal Worstolian Libertarian Conspiricy, or whatever it is this week. it’s a neat way of letting his opponents destroy their own credibility. He understands you create a power base by catering to your own potential supporters rather than foraging in hostile territory.

  17. “I must try & get my hands on whatever he’s smoking. Or is the Norfolk Magic Mushroom crop unusually good this year?”

    Whatever he’s on, you will want to avoid it at all costs.

    We’re talking serious brain damage here… and RM’s writings are proof.

    Speaking of brain damage, where’s Arnald?

  18. I actually agree with Thornavis – please don’t faint!
    More so with Jim: most* parishes have a small charity for the relief of those in need. If you want a model of what a Charity should do, try looking at The Leprosy Mission which treats lepers who are almost universally cast out from their community and often family, using drugs and medical treatment to stop the disease and provide what relief is possible for the symptoms that have already developed, then a sheltered community, mostly comprised of fellow-sufferers, in which to live, re-training for those unable to go back to their old job so that they can earn a living. No hard-line evangelisation albeit a few choose to become Christians after asking “why do these people want to help me?”
    * After the City of London was depopulated, all the relief in need charities of the City parishes were merged into one which now attempts to relieve the ill-effects of poverty across Greater London.
    The Roman Catholics have a very admirable Society of St Vincent de Paul which tackles need locally and world-wide

  19. Yes, the Christians are more likely to “get their hands dirty”, rather than skulk in an air-conditioned office ‘campaigning’.

    One of the many reasons why the Left despises Christians, I imagine.

  20. There are groups who work to get changes made without being charities. Having charitable status would harm their ability to get work done.

  21. @ Rob
    Quite. For example, one of my Christian friends was upset and quite a bit worried (though less so than an atheist would have been) recently when his daughter contracted Malaria while working for a christian charity in Southern Sudan. One of my son’s school friends spent his gap year building a school in Latin America and in the next few years his parents saved up holidays to generate enough time for a trip to Nepal to work in a rural hospital (him) and the community (her). Lots more examples, if needed, which makes me slightly embarrassed when I think about them compared to the little I do.

  22. @ Martin Davies
    That certainly used to be the case – Amnesty International chose not to be a registered charity until New Labour changed the law – not sure about it now. The new rules permit a lot of groups which I do not regard as charitable to register..

  23. @ Jim and Thornavis. Thank you for the info. I’ve been wondering about what charities I can donate to without funding some ‘progressive’ agenda. As a child I was a menber of the RSPB but now they appear to be supporting bird choppers so they’ve been out for a while. Thanks again.

  24. Murphy tells people what they want to hear. The idea that he looks at the evidence and comes to a conclusion is absurd. He has his conclusions and then closes one eye and attacks the evidence with a sledgehammer and hacksaw until the resultant mess looks vaguely supportive of his arguments.

    There are a group of people out there who believe “it’s all a conspiracy” and that they are the victims of it. Murphy panders to them and since he’s the only one out there saying what they want to hear, he becomes popular (notorious?) on the back of it.

    Number one economics blogger?? WTF?! Someone who did half a degree in economics decades ago and continually demonstrates his ignorance on the subject and the lefties still flock to read it.

  25. DJ

    Don’t go near the RSPB, any conservation organisation that can support of the ‘wrong’ species of duck on the grounds of racial purity should be avoided by a very wide margin.

    Likewise the RSPCA. This bunch sent an inspector round to my mum because one of her neighbours had reported her cat as being neglected, in fact he was just old. They wanted him for themselves and instead of approaching her directly rang the animal Stasi.

  26. I’d concur with Thornavis on the RSPCA.
    Woman I know had a couple those little dogs, look like rats with fur on their tails. One aging & poorly. But she’d also ended up with a 9 mo absolutely spectacular but superfluous border collie, c/o her Irish sister. Had the dog with me for a week, whilst I was UK side. Chap would have given Richie a run for his money on smarts. Born sheepdog, so could’ve hacked accountancy in a long weekend. Sorted him out with a career on a farm in France.
    Woman made the mistake of taking the collie with her when she took the old girl into the RSPCA clinic. They threatened to come round, take all her dogs, if collie boy didn’t have his nuts off. When I came take him over, poor sod was licking his absence.
    He’s still a great sheepdog (bi-lingual) but now the bloodline’s lost. Bloody shame. I certainly don’t regret my visit to the RSPCA & slinging all manner of abuse at them. They’d simply bullied the woman for no reason other than their own agenda.

  27. Bugger i’ve just noticed my mangled RSPB comment.

    It should read,
    any conservation organisation that can support a cull of the ‘wrong’ species of duck on the grounds of racial purity should be avoided by a very wide margin.
    A reference to the extermination of the Ruddy Duck on the grounds of being a bunch of bloody Yanks.

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