Commercial and local authority landlords could benefit from urgently reviewing their legal options.
This can sometimes mean that they owe significant payments, either to workers themselves or to HMRC, for breach of national minimum wage or tax rules. They may also find that people who they thought were volunteers have employment rights.
The Office of Tax Simplification (“OTS”) has recently acknowledged this uncertainty and has recommended clearer guidance from HMRC on this area. It has also suggested that a change in the law should be considered to exempt expenses payments for volunteers where these are equivalent to business expenses.
Many charities and voluntary organisations have been calling for more clarity in this area for some time. Greater clarity in this area would be welcome so that charities and voluntary organisations are more certain about their obligations.
There is the risk that, even if guidance or changes to the law are forthcoming, these result in a narrowing of the exemptions that apply to volunteers and voluntary workers, resulting in charities and voluntary organisations paying more tax and in greater numbers of voluntary workers being due the national minimum wage.
It remains to be seen how HMRC and the Government will respond to this call for clarity and whether any guidance or change in legislation will be forthcoming.
For more information
If you would like any advice with regard to your volunteering arrangements or to enquire about our volunteer pack, please contact Douglas Mullen at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0121 212 7432.
The Cabinet Office has published guidance asking for people to act responsibly, fairly and “in the national interest”.
To help our charity clients look to the future, we summarise key guidance and updates over the last week.
On 18 May 2020, the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) wrote to all social housing residents in England (residents).
For anyone who is currently restrained from holding their General Meeting or have held such in breach of their governing documents, help is on the way!
Social landlords may be surprised to learn that “landlords should be able to carry out routine as well as essential repairs for most households”.
Many housing providers are now re-thinking about gathering information to complete their data return to the Regulator of Social Housing, with the initial exercise having been delayed by Covid-19.
With many premises being left unoccupied (or minimally occupied) during the lockdown, both Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive have warned of the increased risks of Legionella.
The Court of Appeal judgement in Booth and another v R  EWCA Crim 575 will be welcome news for local authority prosecutors and their investigation teams.
The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 came into force on 4 April.
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