Bellshill charity set to close over £300k tax bill

Yooz has been in operation for 12 years
Yooz has been in operation for 12 years

A Bellshill charity is set to close this week after being hit with an estimated £300,000 bill from the taxman.

HM Revenues and Customs has taken issue with Yooz Reuse & Recycling’s Gift Aid donations for the past four years claiming its work isn’t charitable enough to qualify.

Last summer Yooz 
chief executive Ian Strachan and fellow directors met with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator who expressed concerns about whether they were actually a charity.

Mr Strachan felt they had argued their case successfully, only to later learn OSCR had reported them to HMRC.

He said: “OSCR told us they were happy with what we were doing, only for them to go behind our backs and report us to HMRC.

“I am hurt, angry and a little confused, if they had a problem why did they not just speak to us face-to-face?

“The taxman ruled we shouldn’t have been claiming Gift Aid for the past four years, and while I am waiting to hear back from our accountant, I estimate that would have been in the region of £300,000.

“We don’t have enough money to hire a lawyer to appeal HMRC’s decision far less give them anything like £300,000, so it looks like we’ll closing on Friday.”

Yooz made 14 staff redundant between September and December in a bid to cut costs, with another 14 set to be lost this week.

Mr Strachan said: “The charity has had its ups and downs over the past 12 years, but 2016 was such a difficult year between OSCR, HMRC and sales being down as people weren’t prepared to drive to us due to the work on the motorway.

“If we’d have one of those challenges we might have been able to ride it out, but all together it has just proven too much for us.”

A consequence of Yooz closing is it leaves Bellshill Men’s Shed homeless.

The organisation promotes creative, physical and 
recreational activities to combat loneliness and it is looking for a unit where members can do DIY and associated labour like woodwork.

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