Consumer rights: Am I breaking the law when I hold a raffle and give the money to charity?
The tax implications of giving away prizes...Carer's allowance for looking after your husband...How to enforce a court order on a builder
Sunday 12 December 2010
Every Christmas the club I belong to has a raffle to collect money for a charity.
There are only small amounts involved and I sell the tickets, collect the money, hand out a few small donated prizes and give the rest of the money to the charity. This year we've had a row because a new group member says what we're doing is against the law. What's the situation?
While what you're doing may not be strictly within the rules, there are probably thousands of small groups around the UK doing the same thing at this time of year, blissfully unaware that there could be rules to follow. Under the Gambling Act 2005, a raffle is considered to be a lottery and must be run in accordance with the law so your new group member may be right. Tombolas and sweepstakes are also lotteries. But whether or not you're breaking the law depends on the figures involved and when you sell the tickets and draw the prizes.
The law says you need a licence if your lottery makes more than £20,000 – or if you have them regularly and they make more than £250,000 over the year. It doesn't sound like your raffle falls into that money bracket. It sounds to me to be what's called an incidental non-commercial lottery. These are held at non-commercial events, such as school fetes. All the sales and the draw must take place during the main event, which may last more than one day. The prizes mustn't come to more than £500 in total and no more than £100 can be spent on expenses.
At these kinds of events where any money raised isn't for private gain, you can run a non-commercial lottery without a licence. However, to be on the safe side, and because you haven't given me all the details, check this out at the Gambling Commission website: gamblingcommission.gov.uk Click on "lotteries" on the left hand side. There's no "raffle" heading which might partly explain why many people don't realise that a raffle might come under the gambling rules. The other point is how you donate the money. If you give over the money as a personal donation it attracts tax relief under the Gift Aid scheme, but money collected through a raffle from which you could benefit (if you won a prize) may not. You can get more information from HM Revenue and Customs (hmrc.gov.uk).
I have been caring for my husband for the past year and a friend has suggested that I might be entitled to some financial help. I don't like to ask and because we're married perhaps I don't qualify, but he's been diagnosed with early onset dementia and can't work. I've had to go part- time so our income has gone down considerably. I'm worried it may get to the stage where I won't be able to work at all. Do you think my friend is right?
What I suspect your friend was talking about is carer's allowance. It is £53.90 a week and is paid to anyone over 16 who cares for someone else for more than 35 hours a week. Being married to the person you're caring for doesn't disqualify you. So you should apply.
I also think that you need an adviser to go through your finances with you because you might be entitled to more benefits. Carers on low incomes can qualify for help with the rent and council tax or means-tested income support. Carers UK has an advice line on 0808 808 7777 or try your local Citizens Advice Bureau; you'll find the details in the phone book. You say your husband has early onset dementia so I'm assuming he's not yet 65, but if I'm wrong, he might be entitled to attendance allowance too. An adviser will help you claim anything you're entitled to.
I had some building work done and paid the builder, but a few weeks later it became clear that the work wasn't well done. He refused to put it right and I sued in the county court. The judge ordered him to pay me £1,000 but he hasn't paid up. I know he's still in business as I see his van around. People say he probably hasn't got the money and if I try to make him pay I'll be throwing good money after bad, but until he pays me I can't afford to get it fixed.
Even if he owns the van and his tools there's always the chance that he has no savings or other assets and so can't pay you. You may not be the only person he owes money to. In the current climate there are many people whose businesses are struggling to stay afloat. If that's the situation, paying for the judgment to be enforced could be a waste.
Try to find out as much as you can about his financial position. You have the option to pay for bailiffs to be sent to seize goods belonging to him. They would then be sold to cover your debt plus the court fee. The goods are usually sold at auction and don't make a lot so it would mean him losing a lot of goods. He won't want that and so may pay up. You could ask the court for an order to freeze any assets he has in a bank account or asking for a charging order on his home if he owns it. In that case you'd get your money when the house was sold. Because he owes you more than £750 you could issue a statutory demand in bankruptcy. This gives him 21 days in which to respond or you will take steps to make him bankrupt. You might not get your money back if he doesn't own enough assets, but the threat of being made bankrupt may make him act. If he is made bankrupt, the judge is likely to let him keep the tools of his trade because he needs to go on working to clear his debts. There may also be other people to whom he owes money.
You could ask for the builder to be called into court for an order to obtain information about the state of his finances. And you could consider passing the debt to a debt collection agency. A solicitor's letter threatening the next step – bailiffs and or bankruptcy – might be enough. See insolvency.gov.uk for more details.
Do you have a consumer complaint?
Write to Julian Knight at The Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF
Mark Dampier: How to get an income now that savings are past the 'use by' date
Thousands of UK investors could lose out following collapse of Secured Energy Bonds
Bargain Hunter: Fly off for a winter break in France or Portugal for well under £100
Millions in line for compensation after being sold unnecessary credit card cover
Weekly Money: Round-up of the personal finance stories you may have missed 26-30 January
- 1 Three-year-old boy shoots pregnant mother and father in New Mexico
- 2 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
President Putin is a dangerous psychopath - reason is not going to work with him
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...
Day In a Page
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion