Helena Partnerships Ltd v HM Revenue and Customs: CA 9 May 2012

The company had undertaken substantial building works and sought associated tax relief. The court was asked whether, following a change in the company’s memorandum and articles of association, the company, a registered social landlord, remained a charitable organisation. The articles allowed some tenants to become members of the company, and would allow pursuance of objects other than the provision of social housing. It was argued that members would thus be able to run the company for their own benefit. The question was whether, the separate objects being independent of each other, the housing object remained predominant, and the company charitable.
Held: The company’s appeal failed. Though the company ran for public benefit, that was not enough of itself to make it charitable: ‘the provision of a housing stock available for occupation by tenants generally (rather than so as to relieve a charitable need) is not a charitable purpose, because it could only be so if it came within Lord Macnaghten’s fourth category, and it does not do that because it is not within the spirit and intendment of the preamble, nor is it analogous with the examples in the preamble of works of general public utility.’
As to the benefits to individuals: ‘the objects of Helena are not limited, on their true construction, to undertaking operations which are for the primary benefit of the community, to the exclusion of non-incidental benefit for individuals.’
The observations of the Court of Appeal on abuse of right are not binding as a matter of ratio, but they remain persuasive.

Lloyd, Black, Lewison LJJ
[2012] EWCA Civ 569, [2012] PTSR 1409, [2012] WLR(D) 142
Statute of Charitable Uses 1601
England and Wales
CitedMorice v The Bishop of Durham CA 26-Mar-1804
Bequest, in trust for such objects of benevolence and liberality as the trustee in his own discretion shall most approve, cannot be supported as a charitable Legacy ; and is therefore a Trust for the next of kin.
Ann Cracherade by her Will, . .
CitedMorice v Bishop of Durham HL 1805
The court was asked whether a gift of residue to be applied ‘to such objects of benevolence and liberality as the Bishop of Durham in his own discretion shall most approve of’ was valid as being confined to purposes that were charitable.
Held: . .
CitedThe Trustees Of The British Museum v White 8-Jul-1826
William White, deceased, devised a freehold estate to trustees, in trust to sell it, and pay the proceeds, together with his residuary personal estate, to the Trustees of the British Museum, to be by them employed for the benefit of that . .
CitedIncome Tax Special Commissioners v Pemsel HL 20-Jul-1891
Charitable Purposes used with technical meaning
The House was asked whether, in a taxing statute applying to the whole of the United Kingdom and allowing for deductions from and allowances against the income of land vested in trustees for charitable purposes, the words ‘charitable purposes’ . .
CitedIn re Macduff; Macduff v Macduff CA 1896
Lindley LJ qualified the judgment of Lord Macnaghten in Pemsel: ‘Now Sir Samuel Romilly did not mean, and I am certain Lord Macnaghten did not mean, to say that every object of public general utility must necessarily be a charity. Some may be, and . .
CitedWilliams’ Trustees v Inland Revenue Commisioners HL 1947
A trust was created by the memorandum and articles of association of a company. The overall objects of the company were to promote Welsh interests in London. The principal object of the trust was to create a centre in London ‘for promoting the moral . .
CitedIn Re Strakosch 1949
The court may construe a gift as impliedly limited to charitable purposes. Lord Greene MR said: ‘In Williams’ Trustees v Inland Revenue Commissioners the House of Lords has laid down very clearly that in order to come within Lord Macnaghten’s fourth . .
CitedScottish Burial Reform and Cremation Society v Glasgow Corporation HL 26-Jul-1967
The appellants sought partial exemption from rates on its premises. The Corporation challenged their charitable status. The society’s object was to encourage and provide facilities for cremation.
Held: The object was charitable.
Lord Reid . .
CitedIncorporated Council of Law Reporting For England And Wales v Attorney-General And Others CA 14-Oct-1971
The Council sought charitable status for its activities of reporting the law. The Revenue appealed against the decision by Foster J that the Council ought to be registered as a charity.
Held: The appeal failed. The company should have . .
Appeal FromHelena Partnerships Limited v HM Revenue and Customs UTTC 6-Apr-2011
UTTC Registered Social Landlord – objects for ‘benefit of the community’ – whether charity – no – availability of relief under s 505 Taxes Act – no . .
At FTTTxHelena Housing Ltd v Revenue and Customs FTTTx 1-Feb-2010
FTTTx CORPORATION TAX – ASSESSMENT – DEDUCTION FOR EXPENDITURE – Was the expenditure incurred wholly and exclusively for its Schedule A business – No – Was the Appellant a Charity – No – Appeal dismissed . .
CitedWilliams’ Trustees v Inland Revenue Commisioners HL 1947
A trust was created by the memorandum and articles of association of a company. The overall objects of the company were to promote Welsh interests in London. The principal object of the trust was to create a centre in London ‘for promoting the moral . .
CitedGeneral Nursing Council for England and Wales v St Marylebone Borough Council HL 1959
The court considered how to decide whether the Council could claim exemption from rates.
Held: The court should restrict its consideration to the purposes as set out and not look to the actual activities. The relevant clause had as its main . .
CitedInland Revenue Commissioners v McMullen CA 1979
The Football Association had set up a trust to promote football in universities and schools, claiming this was charitable under the 1958 Act.
Held: The trust was not charitable whether as being for the advancement of education, or in the . .
CitedIn re South Place Ethical Society 1980
The court considered the meaning and nature of religious belief, and whether a trust for this purpose could be charitable.
Held: Dillon J referred to Russell LJ as having taken the view that the court could hold that there are purposes ‘so . .
CitedInland Revenue Commissioners v McMullen HL 6-Mar-1980
HL Charity – Promotion of sport – Trust created ‘to organise or provide or assist in the organisation and provision of facilities which will enable and encourage pupils of schools and universities in any part of . .
CitedAl-Mehdawi v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 23-Nov-1989
The applicant, a student had overstayed his leave. Through his solicitor’s negligence, he lost his appeal against deportation. He sought judicial review of that decision.
Held: Judgment obtained in a party’s absence due entirely to the fault . .
CitedAttorney General of the Caymen Islands and others v Even Wahr-Hansen PC 26-Jun-2000
(Caymen Islands) A memorandum of agreement that proceeds of a trust fund should be paid to ‘any one or more religious, charitable or educational institutions . . or . . operating for the public good’ was not charitable since it the objects were not . .
CitedKendall v Granger CA 2-Jul-1842
Bequest of personalty to trustees, to be ‘applied for the relief of domestic distress, assisting indigent but deserving individuals, or encouraging undertakings of general utility.’ Held, void as a charitable bequest. . .
CitedTomlinson v Congleton Borough Council and others HL 31-Jul-2003
The claimant dived into a lake, severely injuring himself. The council appealed, arguing that it owed him no duty of care under the Act since he was a trespasser. It had placed warning signs to deter swimmers.
Held: The council’s appeal . .
CitedThe Attorney-General v Aspinall 4-Jul-1836
Municipal corporations hold their property for public charitable purposes. . .
CitedIn Re Estlin 1903
A home of rest was to be provided for lady teachers.
Held: This was a valid charitable bequest. . .
CitedAttorney General v De Winton 1906
The Borough operated using all its borrowing powers. Its accounts were conducted in the name of its treasurer. The accounts were properly audited. A burgess complained at the payment of the interest on the loan accounts to the treasurer for payment . .
CitedIn Re James 1932
A legacy for the setting up and operation of a home of rest for the sisters of a religious community was a valid charitable bequest, on the basis that it was to be provided for persons in need of such a facility or amenity. . .
CitedIn re Compton; Powell v Compton CA 1945
The court considered the charitable status of a trust ‘for the education of Compton and Powell and Montague children’.
Held: It was not charitable. If the group of beneficiaries is distinguishable from other members of the community by a . .
CitedOppenheim v Tobacco Securities Trust Co Ltd HL 13-Dec-1950
Trustees were directed to apply certain income in providing for ‘the education of children of employees or former employees’ of a British limited company or any of its subsidiary or allied companies. The number of eligible employees was over . .
CitedRe Sanders 1954
A legacy to provide dwellings for the working classes and their families resident in the area of Pembroke Dock or within a radius of five miles, with preference for dockworkers and their families, was not a charitable bequest, because the class of . .
CitedInland Revenue Commissioners v Oldham Training and Enterprise Council ChD 11-Oct-1996
The court was asked whether Oldham TEC was established for exclusively charitable purposes. The Commisioners now appealed against a finding that tey were.
Held: The appeal succeeded. The promotion of commerce is not capable of being a . .
CitedJoseph Rowntree Memorial Trust Housing Association Ltd v Attorney-General 1983
Housing associations wished to build self-contained dwellings for sale to the elderly. The court was asked whether such activity would be charitable in nature.
Held: The proposed schemes were charitable. They were for the relief of the aged, . .

Cited by:
CitedPendragon Plc and Others v HM Revenue and Customs CA 23-Jul-2013
The Revenue had imposed a penalty on the appellants saying that their arrangement for the sale and VAT taxation of demonstrator cars was, in European law terms. The taxpayer sought re-instatment of the First Tier Tribunal judgment in its favour.
Charity, Housing

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.456517