/ NEWS: Government Taxes Mountain Rescue £200,000 Per Year

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UKC News - on 03 Jul 2009
[Helicopter support for the rescue team, 3 kb]VAT Exemption Petition Knocked Back By No. 10

The Mountain Rescue (MR) for England and Wales is donation funded and staffed by volunteers. They receive no remuneration for their efforts, but are rewarded with a large tax bill.

"We are constantly met with a brick wall when it comes to government making concessions to us on taxes"

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=48199

mr mills - on 03 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

I wander what the government would do if all the mountain rescue services for England and Wales would seize to be, all volunteers to back down ?

I think there would be such a public outcry that the government would then fund the MR teams as there would be a soaring casualty/mortality rate on the hills !

This would be a drastic action to take but might make the government sit up and apreciate the work that the MR teams do.

It might sound immorally wrong but, will the MR teams still be rattling their coin boxes for funding for the next shout !
In reply to UKC News:

Just had a response from Dave Turnbull, Chief Executive of the British Mountaineering Council:

"The Mountain Rescue Teams do a great job nationwide and the BMC would of course support the MRC in their efforts to gain VAT exemption."


The Ramblers Association next?

Jack
craig d - on 03 Jul 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

The government are very good at giving with one hand (gift aid on charitable donations) and clawing back with the other. How long are we going to let them get away with it for?
MF2005 - on 03 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

"Our VAT agreements with our European partners, signed by successive governments, mean that it is not now possible to extend the scope of the zero rates available to charities beyond those permitted by EU VAT legislation."

This from our government. Its hard not to be anti European when you hear
statements like this, why on Earth should our country be bound by pointless
European regulations which are unsuitable for it?

Yet again the beurocrats utterly fail to understand the concept of voluntary organisations.
Yrmenlaf on 03 Jul 2009
In reply to MF2005:

Which MPs (and Lords) enjoy mountain walking / climbing?

Y.
Geoffrey Michaels on 04 Jul 2009 - host86-156-1-197.range86-156.btcentralplus.com
In reply to UKC News:

Does this only apply to MR in England and Wales or throughout the UK? I would imagine the BMC is campaigning on behalf of everyone.

Worth raising this with MEPs.
Trangia - on 04 Jul 2009
In reply to Yrmenlaf:
> (In reply to MF2005)
>
> Which MPs (and Lords) enjoy mountain walking / climbing?
>
> Y.


Good question. I'm not certain if a list of "other interests" appears against MPs entries but I suggest that all climbers and walkers try and make an effort to find out if their local MPs partake? Concentrated lobbying might help bring about a U turn
danm - on 04 Jul 2009
In reply to MF2005:

Get off your soapbox and read the article! It states that the EU, when approached directly are supportive. Once again, however, the UK government uses the excuse of EU agreements to avoid the issue. This is a classic bureaucratic ploy "I'm a reasonable man but my hands are tied"

This is just a case of poor government. The simple answer is that they could, if they wanted to, find a temporary solution, whilst in the long term rewrite the EU tax agreements to allow exemption for MR. But they can't be arsed, so they blame it on the EU.
danm - on 04 Jul 2009
In reply to danm:

Let's not forget, this isn't just about getting rescues for mountaineers and climbers. Every rescue team also regularly goes out looking for missing people - the vulnerable, mentally ill, etc on behalf of the police. They help during flooding, other natural disasters, and of course the aftermath of things like Lockerbie. So for the government to make use of their services but also generate revenue from them is obscene.
Ghastly Rubberfeet on 04 Jul 2009
In reply to danm:

A good point, well made.



I found this in the local "on-line rag"

http://www.nwemail.co.uk/news/mp_wants_rescue_teams_vat_free_1_578349?referrerPath=news
Comms27 on 04 Jul 2009 - cpc2-hudd3-0-0-cust825.hudd.cable.ntl.com
In reply to danm:
> (In reply to danm)
>
> Every rescue team also regularly goes out looking for missing people - the vulnerable, mentally ill, etc on behalf of the police. They help during flooding, other natural disasters, and of course the aftermath of things like Lockerbie. So for the government to make use of their services but also generate revenue from them is obscene.

Seconded
Howard J - on 04 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News: Maybe the teams should bill the authorities whenever they are asked to assist with something which is not a mountaineering or other outdoor activity rescue. About £200k pa should do it.
Comms27 on 04 Jul 2009 - cpc2-hudd3-0-0-cust825.hudd.cable.ntl.com
In reply to Howard J:
> (In reply to UKC News) Maybe the teams should bill the authorities whenever they are asked to assist with something which is not a mountaineering or other outdoor activity rescue. About £200k pa should do it.

Some do, but not to the tune of £200k
Yrmenlaf on 05 Jul 2009
In reply to Trangia:

I couldn't find a list of "other interests" of MPs or MEPs

My MP (Roberta Blackman-Woods) and MEP (Fiona Hall) both have web-pages (do any MPs or MEPs not have web-pages?), neither list mountain sports amongst their hobbies.

Could anyone suggest a form of words for a letter?

Y.
Yrmenlaf on 05 Jul 2009
johnnorman on 05 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

I wonder how the MPs responsible for these bad decisions would feel if they had to be saved by by our recue teams?
David Riley - on 05 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

Can MR not register for vat and claim it back on purchases ?
Alasdair - on 08 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8140795.stm

Perhaps we should try a similar move. The majority of us must be over voting age?!
Owen W-G - on 08 Jul 2009
Find your MP here and write to them.

http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/
MJH - on 08 Jul 2009
In reply to danm: The article is a bit misleading to be honest.

The Govt are technically correct that they can not just hand out VAT zero rates because of EU legislation.

They could if they wished to refund the VAT paid by MRTs.

Re-writing EU Directives is not as easy as all that as for taxation you need unanimity amongst the EU27 (rather than a qualified majority).
MJH - on 08 Jul 2009
In reply to David Riley:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> Can MR not register for vat and claim it back on purchases ?

No because to do that they would need to be providing a taxable supply. Irrecoverable VAT is a massive issue for all charities - charities are treated as the final consumer in many cases (VAT passes through the supply chain to the final consumer).
Mr Ree on 08 Jul 2009 - 81.170.80.2 whois?
In reply to MJH: Surely they could provide 'consultancy' services to say film crews and the like and register for VAT on a voluntary basis? Any accountants care to comment?
MJH - on 08 Jul 2009
In reply to Mr Ree: Provided they actually provided the services possibly, though given they are volunteers where would they get the time and would it be part of their charitable aims.
David Riley - on 08 Jul 2009
In reply to MJH:

From the Revenue website "If youíre VAT registered you can reclaim the VAT that you are charged on purchases relating to your taxable business activities. However, you canít reclaim the VAT you are charged on purchases relating to your exempt business activities or to any non-business activities."

I found nothing to say you have to make a profit. So if all activities had a one penny charge, then they would be business activities. The vat could be claimed back on any purchases related to them. (Possibly ?)
MJH - on 08 Jul 2009
In reply to David Riley: I didn't they had to make a profit, I said they have to make a taxable supply (which is what you have just found). I don't know whether MRT services would be a taxable supply, though I doubt it as I would hazard a guess that they would be exempt.
In reply to MJH: I checked with a few people who know a bit about the EU legislation and they said there are dozens of potential opt outs that national authorities can apply if they wish - this is why I presume when the MRT teams approached the commission they said they would have no problem with them being exempted. It is HMG that says EU law says... not the Commission.

BTW the Finnish govt. is being sued by the Commission in the ECJ currently because the Finnish govt. had given lawyers who do legal aid work VAT exemption. There the Commission clearly says that is NOT legal under EU legislation and have taken Finland to court to prove it. Presumably the Finnish govt. aren't convinced of their interpretation. Anyway it suggest if the COmmission say 'not a problem with us' its probably HMG not wanting to help out, not the EU.

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