Maximising your charity’s income through Gift Aid

Monday 8 April 2024

Written by Yedidya Zaiden

Maximising your charity’s income through Gift Aid

Maximising your charity’s income through Gift Aid 

As you are no doubt already aware, charity tax relief encompasses various forms of tax advantages available to registered charities.  

This includes relief on Income Tax, Corporation Tax, Capital Gains Tax, and Stamp Duty Land Tax.  

Charities can claim back 25for every £1 donated through Gift Aid, enhancing the value of donations at no extra cost to the donor.  

To benefit, charities must be recognised by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and comply with specific regulations. 

Here’s how to use Gift Aid properly: 

What is Gift Aid? 

Gift Aid is a tax incentive that allows charities to reclaim an extra 25on every eligible donation made by a UK taxpayer.  

For donations to qualify, donors must have paid at least as much in Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax in that tax year as the charity will claim on their donations.  

It's a powerful tool that can significantly increase your charity's income. 

Implementing effective Gift Aid strategies 

We are often asked by charities (especially those who are new to the world of charity taxation) how to maximise their use of Gift Aid. 

Claiming Gift Aid: Documentation and processes 

The process of claiming Gift Aid requires meticulous record-keeping and adherence to HMRC's guidelines.  

Charities must obtain a valid Gift Aid declaration from donors, which can be in written or verbal form.  

Records of each donation and its corresponding declaration must be kept for at least six years.  

Claims for Gift Aid can be made using the HMRC Charities Online service, and charities need to ensure they claim within the appropriate time frame, usually within four years of receiving the donation. 

Maximising tax efficiencies 

To maximise the benefits of Gift Aid, charities should encourage all eligible donors to complete a Gift Aid declaration.  

The Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) allows charities to claim Gift Aid on cash or contactless donations up to £30 without a declaration, up to a threshold of £8,000 per year, which can significantly boost a charity's income. 

Gift Aid can also apply to funds raised through charitable events and activities, under specific conditions.  

For example, sponsored events where the participant has a sponsorship form filled in by individual sponsors can qualify for Gift Aid.  

However, there are limitations, and not all funds raised through events and activities are eligible. 

  • Donor eligibility: Only donations made by UK taxpayers qualify for Gift Aid. If the donor has not paid enough Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax to cover the Gift Aid claim on their donation, the charity cannot claim Gift Aid on that donation. 

  • Type of donations: Gift Aid cannot be claimed on donations from companies, donations made through payroll giving, or on behalf of someone else or a group of people. 

  • Benefit to donors: There are limits on the amount of benefit (e.g., goods, services, or preferential access to events) a donor can receive in return for their donation and still allow for Gift Aid to be claimed. Exceeding these limits can invalidate the Gift Aid claim. 

  • Charity status and registration: Only charities recognised by HMRC and registered for Gift Aid can make claims. This requires keeping up to date with HMRC's compliance and reporting requirements. 

As you can see, whilst there are some hoops to jump through, most charities can take full advantage of the Gift Aid scheme. 

Here are some practical tips and tricks for utilising your Gift Aid to the fullest. 

  • Promote Gift Aid awareness: Actively educate donors about Gift Aid benefits through all communication channels, encouraging them to opt in during the donation process. 

  • Simplify the declaration process: Ensure the Gift Aid declaration is straightforward and integrated seamlessly into the donation process, whether online or in person, to increase participation. 

  • Maintain accurate records: Keep detailed records of all donations eligible for Gift Aid, including donor declarations, to ensure compliance and facilitate successful claims. 

  • Utilise the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS): Take full advantage of GASDS for small cash and contactless donations, which allows for claiming without a donor declaration, up to £8,000 per year. 

  • Claim promptly and regularly: Establish a routine for making Gift Aid claims to HMRC at regular intervals to maintain a consistent cash flow from reclaimed tax. 

If you’d like further information or tailored advice on your use of Gift Aid, we recommend you speak to a qualified and experienced tax adviser who specialises in charities. 

We can take a look at your current practices and processes and guide you on the best strategies for using Gift Aid. 

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