A petition has been launched asking the government to exempt charities from paying Value Added Tax (VAT). VAT is a 17.5 % tax paid for goods and services in the European Union (EU), including the United Kingdom. In some cases, for example childrens' car seats and domestic fuel or power, there is a reduced rate of five per cent. No VAT is charged on food, books, newspapers and magazines childrens' clothes and equipment for disabled people. But charities have always had to pay the full amount. So each time someone makes a donation to a charity, a percentage of this money, spent on items such as equipment and stationary, goes straight to the Exchequer. Andrew Scadding, director of the Pattaya Orphanage Trust points out: "It is a sobering thought that if I ran a Soho strip-club I could reclaim the VAT on all the stationery and stuff I bought to run the business, but since POT is a charity we are prohibited from so doing. It means that donors money goes to the Chancellor." The Charities and VAT petition can be found at: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Charities/ It states: This is an added expense for groups that are already financially stretched to their limits. Give charities a break. The PM knows how valuable the work of charities are and the pressure they relieve on welfare state services. The deadline to sign is 21 June 2007.
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