VAT advice is vital to growth for Amelia Trust Care Farm

Amelia Trust Farm in the Vale of Glamorgan provides amazing support to vulnerable young people, writes Social Business Wales Advisor Mike Jones. It had exciting plans to grow by capitalising on previously untapped sources of income, but before taking the plunge its Trustees needed to make sure they fully understood the tax implications.

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Why it’s important

Run by a charitable trust, the farm provides a countryside sanctuary for young people feeling threatened, vulnerable, anxious or disadvantaged. During term-time, the Trust runs an amazing programme for young people who are struggling in mainstream education, perhaps because they have suffered abuse or neglect or are statemented with neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD or autism. Through its life-changing programmes, they are able to gain qualifications as well as build confidence and life skills.

The farm was receiving most of its income from schools and local authorities. But Trustees realised that members of the public visiting its animals, woodland walks, play area and café could provide an additional income stream. The Trustees had plans to start charging an entrance fee and open a farm shop, but were anxious to know how this would affect their Gift Aid status and what the tax implications would be.

How we helped

The Trustees called in Social Business Wales. Its team of qualified tax experts carried out a VAT review of operations and provided the Trustees with a bespoke report outlining the VAT position, with advice on how best to implement the new activities. The report also looked at how the new operations would affect Gift Aid.

The Trust also took the opportunity to work with SBW to update its equal opportunities and sustainability policies to bring them into line with Welsh Government requirements.

Impact of our support

Thanks to the detailed report, the Trustees felt confident to go ahead with their plans. The additional income meant that they were able to employ five farm rangers on a seasonal basis, as well as a permanent part-time animal care worker.

Social Business Wales is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through Welsh Government and is delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre.

Mike Jones is the Social Business Wales business advisor for the Vale of Glamorgan, Newport, Torfaen and South Powys

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