Watchdog hits back at charity’s claims

OSCR is Scotland's charity watchdog
OSCR is Scotland's charity watchdog

Scotland’s charity watchdog has denied it told Yooz Reuse & Recycling it was ‘happy’ with its work before reporting them to the taxman.

Earlier this week the Times & Speaker reported that the Bellshill charity was being forced to close after being hit with an estimated £300,000 tax bill.

This came after HM Revenues & Customs decided the Mossbell Road operation should not have been claiming Gift Aid for the past four years.

Yooz chief executive Ian Strachan and fellow directors met with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator last summer after concerns about the operation were raised in December 2015.

Mr Strachan stated that following this discussion OSCR appeared ‘happy’ with what they were doing, and was ‘hurt, angry and confused’ when they subsequently asked the taxman to investigate Yooz, saying the charity watchdog had gone ‘behind our backs’.

OSCR has denied this was ever the case, saying they had given Yooz plenty of warning it had to improve its governance of the charity and was well within in its rights to report Yooz to HMRC.

OSCR head of casework Martin Tyson said: “We opened an inquiry into the charity in December 2015 and as part of this inquiry we met with the charity trustees.

“We found a number of areas where the charity trustees needed to improve the governance of the charity and we wrote to them in July 2016 making firm recommendations for changes to be made.

“We were not, therefore, happy with what the charity was doing.

“As part of our inquiries we identified that the charity may be incorrectly claiming Gift Aid.

“We contacted HMRC to disclose information as the law gives us powers to do, and in line with our memorandum of understanding with them (published on our website).

“As part of their trustee duties, we do expect charity trustees to ensure that any Gift Aid claims are valid and where necessary take relevant professional advice to ensure that this is the case.”