William Eichler 12 June 2017

Private schools to get £522m in tax breaks

More than half of all private schools in England and Wales are set to save millions thanks to their charitable status and ‘lucrative’ tax breaks, research reveals.

Freedom of information requests to 132 councils have discovered 586 out of 1,038 private schools held charitable status and were afforded mandatory business rates relief.

Charities in England and Wales can receive charitable rate relief of 80% if a property is used for ‘charitable’ purposes.

Under the revaluation of business rates on 1st April this year, private schools could have expected to pay £1.16bn over the next 5 years.

However, the business rates specialists CVS forecasts that just £634.26m will be paid with £522.31m being saved by private schools through their charitable status.

CVS found all 41 private schools in Barnsley liable for rates were classed as charities.

Waverley Borough Council will grant 45 out 52 of their private schools, £4.44m in rates relief with Elmbridge Borough Council granting 34 out 54 of their private schools £2.46m in relief. 

‘It cannot be right that Council run schools pay normal business rates but 56% of private schools, using charitable status, receive an 80% discount,’ said Mark Rigby, chief executive of CVS Business Rent and Rates Specialists.

‘As the overall tax burden continues to rise, businesses particularly SMEs, must have the confidence that fairness is at the heart of the tax system.’

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