HMRC internal manual

VAT Cultural Services

VCULTURE3200 - Cultural bodies with local authority councillors as trustees: Trustees paid a basic salary in their role as councillors

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Given the highly influential role of the councillor in his role as trustee both on financial and non-financial issues, we accept that the councillor / trustee is making, rather than merely implementing, decisions of a policy nature. Therefore they qualify as persons who manage and administer at a level appropriate to the condition.

We also acknowledge the role of the councillor in representing the local authority in financial matters. However, HMRC believe that it is not unreasonable to expect a large donor to want to ensure that its donation is being put to best use and that, where such an arrangement exists, it does not necessarily render the body, in whole or in part, commercial. In addition, the fact that councillors receive their remuneration from the local authority in relation to their general duties as a councillor, and will receive it regardless of a trustee role, does not mean that they, personally, have a direct or indirect financial interest in the activities of the cultural body. Therefore, provided that the local authority is not seeking to make a profit or to recoup anything in return for its donation - but merely seeking to ensure that the money which it has donated is appropriately spent - we do not consider that the presence of a trustee, paid in his role as councillor by the local authority, in itself debars a body from exemption.