Our philanthropy and charity lawyers advise local family grant-making foundations, universities and high profile operational charities across the world. We combine legal and commercial expertise with a deep understanding of the charity sector to deliver strategic advice.

The model that we operate is collaborative and draws on the in-depth knowledge of our philanthropy and charity lawyers. We also draw on the expertise of other specialist groups within the firm to deliver a bespoke service tailored to our clients’ needs.

Collaboration is key to our clients. Collaboration between philanthropists and charities, and between corporates and charities, can be one of the most effective methods of achieving sustainable change. We play an important role in ensuring that the rights of charities, in particular their brand, are protected.

Areas of focus

Our philanthropy and charity law expertise includes the following:

  • Helping philanthropists, families and businesses to shape their philanthropic strategy and to define their goals.
  • The creation of new charitable vehicles and registration with the Charity Commission and HMRC.
  • Advice on tax efficient giving, including social investment tax relief and cross border giving.
  • Advice on all aspects of the taxation of charities and their trading subsidiaries, including VAT and charity tax exemptions.
  • Commercial and operational matters, including corporate partnerships, sponsorships and trading activities.
  • Advice on all areas of governance and fiduciary responsibility, including liaising with the Charity Commission where required.
  • Where appropriate we can act as a professional, independent director or trustee.
  • We deal with the interplay between charity law and regulation, and real estate/property law, to ensure that transactions are carried out correctly and effectively.
  • We can provide a full administration service which includes accounting, bookkeeping, tax compliance and screening of requests for grants.
  • We work with experienced consultants to ensure organisations are well-researched, effective, reputable and sustainable prior to making grants.
  • We can advise on appropriate tools for monitoring and evaluation to measure the social impact of the grant.

Acting as director of a global international charity focused on access to surgical care.

Advising an international high net worth family on the most appropriate structures to facilitate their philanthropy, both in the UK and abroad.

Providing VAT advice to a children’s charity on tax exemptions available to its trading subsidiary.

Assisting a US company with establishing a charitable entity in the UK and registering this entity with the Charity Commission.

Advising a large retailer on its relationship with its charitable foundation, including in respect of VAT, charity trading regulations and the commercial participator requirements.

Advising a university on constructing a new research facility, including in relation to tax, procurement and charity law.

Advising various charities on changing their charitable purposes and making changes to their constitution.

Meet the team

Catherine de Maid Partner

  • International tax and trusts
  • Head of Philanthropy
  • Succession Planning and Wills
Tom Hewitt

Tom Hewitt Partner

  • Private Wealth
  • Head of Estates and Land
  • Head of Food and Farming
Jim Aveline

Jim Aveline Partner

  • Private Client Services
  • Family Offices and Family Businesses
  • Food and Farming
Camilla Usher-Clark

Camilla Usher-Clark Partner

  • Corporate
  • Energy and Utilities
  • Co-operatives
Headshot John Barnett

John Barnett Partner

  • Head of Partnerships
  • Private Client Services
  • Tax

Suzanna Harvey Partner

  • Head of Private Wealth
  • Private Client Services
  • International Tax

What others say...

Burges Salmon is definitely a top-notch firm.

Chambers UK 2024

Philanthropy and Charities

Key contact


Catherine de Maid Partner

  • International tax and trusts
  • Head of Philanthropy
  • Succession Planning and Wills

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