Thomas Westcott specialist charity team has recently concluded a series of workshops for charity trustees held at 5 locations across Devon.

The workshops were attended by over 50 charity trustees with numbers being restricted at each venue to offer the opportunity for discussion in a more intimate environment.

Topics discussed included the new Charities SORPs and Trustees reports, revisions to annual returns and audit requirements, charities and trading, charity structure, gift aid and good governance.

Opportunities were provided during each session and at the end to raise any particular questions trustees may have had and to share experiences.

Comments from attendees:

"A very interesting and informative workshop - Thank you"

"A most useful evening"

"Very interesting, Good to focus on issues which can be missed"


Feedback from the workshops will be used to develop the Thomas Westcott Annual Charity Seminar taking place on 4th November at Westpoint, Exeter.

To book a place at our November seminar please email


It’s not uncommon for directors of owner managed businesses to draw funds from the company by way of a dividend with either no salary or a very low one. The benefit? You pay less tax and this is a good thing, right? But, what happens when the company starts to struggle and enters into an insolvency event?

Drawings are treated as loans from a Company. In practice, a director may draw a regular amount each month, later declaring a dividend at the year-end or at interim periods.

To declare a legal dividend, there MUST be distributable profits in the Company. Board minutes approving the dividend, dividend counterfoils and interim/annual accounts need to be produced each time a dividend is declared. Without this paperwork, you may be at risk!


If you are thinking about or planning an expansion of your business, you should always ask yourself, is there any grant funding available to support me in this? Even in these times where public spending is being cut back significantly, there are still a number of sources of grants available to businesses willing to invest to create jobs and improve profitability.

Grant funding can, however, be a little confusing at times. There are potentially a myriad of sources of grant monies, but their availability may be restricted to a particular time frame or to a specific geographical area.

What types of grant are available?

Grant funding generally takes two forms – capital grants and revenue grants.

Capital grants are used to fund expenditure on equipment, buildings, plant and machinery, as part of a project to safeguard or create jobs. These tend to be the larger projects and funding will be set as a percentage of the overall project spend. The grant may be advanced in instalments, linked to a period over which the expenditure takes place or any jobs are created.


Every business needs an accurate business plan which balances the optimism of a sales team with the prudence of the finance department and needs of a production team. An inaccurate business plan can have major consequences for a business: strains on cash flow, unhappy funders when the actual results bear no resemblance to the plan, incorrect stock pricing and purchasing, an inappropriate staffing model, and ultimately an underperforming business.

So how do you achieve a business plan that is balanced and credible? 

The key is to make sure all departments have input in what should be a fully integrated business plan, with a profit and loss account, balance sheet and cash flow. Too often we see business plans which are centred on overly optimistic turnover estimates, underestimated costs, and certainly not integrated with the cash flow. Taking the time to get it right, based on well considered assumptions will pay dividends both in the medium and long term.


Thomas Westcott were main sponsors of the first Otter Valley Festival that was held on Saturday 30th May, the event was organised by the Rotary Club of Otter Valley and was raising money for Hospiscare and Rotary charities.

The day was a great success with many activities to get involved with including a sponsored cycle ride.

Well done to the Thomas Westcott cycling team who entered the cycle event. The 25 mile event had a Thomas Westcott 1st and 2nd (Stuart Carrington and Michael Marsh respectively) and the 11 mile event had 2nd place going to Edmund Carrington.


Since 1 April 2015 4 categories of charity have become entitled to reclaim VAT on goods and services supplied to them for non-business activities.

The charity does not even need to be VAT-registered to make a claim.

These charities are:
1. Palliative care charities – mainly covering adult and children’s hospices and those supplying care via qualified nurses or doctors in peoples homes

2. Air Ambulance charities

3. Search and Rescue charities – includes cliff recue, sea rescue, mountain rescue, cave rescue and rescue dogs, also any charity whose main purpose is to support search and rescue charities.

4. Medical courier charities – mainly covers “blood bike” charities. This also covers support charities for medical courier charities.

Thomas Westcott will be pleased to offer advice and assist any qualifying charity with making a claim, click on the link below to view details of our charity team.

Thomas Westcott Charity Team

Thomas Westcott Chairman, Richard Thomas, right, inducted as President of ICAEW Chartered Accountants South West by Mike Sturgess of SWAT, immediate past President.  Chartered Accountants South West has a membership of 3000 chartered accountants including practising, business and retired members. The organisation supports members and trainee chartered accountants throughout the South West region including the provision of courses and organisation of events as well as representing the national body on a regional basis.


1 June 2015

●     Payment of CT liabilities for small/medium-sized companies with accounting periods ended 31 August 2014 where payment not required by instalments.

●     Check for revised HMRC advisory fuel rates.

7 June 2015

●     Electronic filing and payment of VAT liability for quarter ended 5 April 2015.

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Several charities have Permanent Endowment funds in their ownership. There is usually a restriction in the Charities governing document on its use and it is normally one of the following assets: land; buildings; cash; investments.

There are normally significant restrictions on Permanent Endowment funds with frequently the asset itself or the income from the asset only being available for the use as set out in the governing document.

Charity companies (including CIOs) cannot hold Permanent Endowment funds but they are able to transfer such funds to a ‘shell’ charity they own. Such transfers must be used for the original purpose of the fund. They must be kept separate from general or corporate assets.

There may be circumstances when the trustees may wish to spend a Permanent Endowment, but there are requirements which must be fulfilled. The reasons for spending the endowment must be:

• It is necessary to enable the charity to carry out its purpose
• The charity needs the money to set up a new project
• The charity has outgrown its existing premises and needs to sell

Charity Commission consent is needed if:

• The charities annual income is over £1000
• The whole of the Permanent Endowment fund is worth more than £10,000.
• Permission can be obtained by an online form providing basic information such as details of the decision making process, the resolutions proposed including the
reasons, the current market value of the endowment.

There will be requirements to hold quorate trustees meetings; vote with 2/3 of trustees voting to be in favour; and to ask the charity commission to agree.
In short despite the restrictions on them, it is possible to make use of the Permanent Endowment Funds and on occasions to transfer to a similar minded charity, provided the procedures are applied and Charity Commission permission is obtained.