Published On: Tue, Oct 10th, 2017

New FREE service uncovers CHARITY groups’ forgotten treasure chests

That’s the view of Back Of The Sofa, a new free service, aimed at Britain’s many thousands of volunteer treasurers and finance directors.

Advice and all the necessary forms for groups to apply for discounts on overheads, claim rebates and maximise tax relief are available through the online tool that also suggests fundraising ideas that don’t rely on asking supporters for further donations. 

According to its founder Nick Heath, “As well as how to save time and money when buying utilities, Back Of The Sofa pinpoints where reductions may have been historically overlooked and can be reclaimed. 

“Some organisations are mistakenly charged the wrong rate of VAT on their energy bills and this, in turn, results in the Climate Change Levy being automatically slapped on top. 

“However in the majority of cases both of these overpayments can be backdated four years which, if successful, effectively gives the organisation a year’s worth of free energy.”

St. Mary’s Hospice in Ulverston, Cumbria, recently used Back Of The Sofa to identify £6,400 of incorrect energy charges which have now been returned. 

Its finance head Suzi Lake said: “The process was really easy, we simply filled in a form and then they did everything for us. Within just a few weeks we received a rebate which will fund all the care and treatment for a patient on our inpatient unit. Only a small percentage of our costs come from government funding, so this windfall will really make a difference.”

Fundraising ideas include the gift aid from previous donations that many higher-rate and top-rate taxpayers omit from their tax returns which can be backdated four years. 

A collective switching service for home energy bills allows organisations to receive the commission that would otherwise be paid to a price comparison website.

Heath commented: ““Charities are literally sitting on pockets of cash that could be freed-up and put to better use. Often it’s case of ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’ or just waking up to the fact that – even for those with charitable status – there’s no reward for loyalty when it comes to utilities. It’s all about drawing attention to the opportunities that exist and making the process as painless as possible.”

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