CTG comments on new Gift Aid confirmation statements

CTG was approached today by Civil Society Media to respond to a statement from HMRC on new Gift Aid confirmation statements that charities are advised to use for some types of fundraising to ensure only eligible claims are made.

CTG Vice-Chairman Richard Bray said:

“CTG and the members of its Gift Aid practical issues working group fully support efforts to ensure that Gift Aid is claimed correctly and it is important that we protect the integrity of this valuable relief. This is particularly important in the light of HMRC reports that very high Gift Aid error rates have been found in relation to online fundraising.

“Additional steps to educate donors can therefore be very helpful, although we believe that any requirement for new confirmation statements needs to be proportionate and correctly targeted. Fundraising relating to events clearly presents a greater chance of misunderstanding resulting in potentially ineligible Gift Aid claims – in contrast to, for example, donations via direct debit.

“We are working closely with charities and HMRC to facilitate discussions about what types of fundraising require additional communication on Gift Aid eligibility and we welcome HMRC’s flexible and collaborative approach to date.

“Ultimately, however, HMRC may need to act with care to ensure that there is appropriate certainty for Gift Aid managers, fundraisers, donors and officials – in the long term grey areas and differing approaches could cause problems and additional costs to charities.”

In response to a query from Civil Society, an HMRC spokesman had said:

“HMRC has identified common errors when individuals make donations to charity, particularly through intermediary websites. To help charities with this issue, HMRC has created a series of statements that can help donors understand when they are able to claim Gift Aid. It is not mandatory to use these, but they can help prevent errors and the need to correct mistakes. It is in the interests of the charity sector and intermediary websites to get Gift Aid claims right and HMRC encourages these organisations to use the explanations at the point of donation. HMRC is currently exploring opportunities to improve the take-up of Gift Aid and reduce errors, and will continue to develop these statements as part of this work”.

The full article HMRC will ‘continue to develop’ position on three-stage Gift Aid checks can be read here.

Steve Carroll gave details about HMRC’s approach at the recent CTG Tax Conference and his slides can be found here.

Charities interested in joining a forum for further discussion with HMRC and other charities about good fundraising materials and Gift Aid, and/or who would like to join the Gift Aid practical issues working group should contact [email protected].