Gift Aid: HMRC feedback on common errors and frequent questions to the Charities Helpline

In March 2019, CTG co-ordinated a meeting between HMRC officials and charities (members of the Gift Aid working group) to discuss data issues relating to Gift Aid. In many cases charities may have been acting too cautiously and missing out on valid Gift Aid claims – you can find out more here.

HMRC officials have now provided details of Common Errors on Gift Aid claims:

  • Using donation amounts and Gift Aid received on adjustments
  • Missing off donation dates – errors on date of donation (simple typos)
  • Not including a regulator number (even when one is ticked)/inputting HMRC reference as regulator number
  • Claiming for both “Main” and Community Buildings on GASDS
  • Submitting a claim before making changes to the records – person who submits the claim is not authorised
  • Entering GASDS on the Gift Aid schedule
  • Misunderstanding of what an aggregated donation is
  • Confusing GASDS with aggregated donations and vice-versa
  • Updating Charity Commission records but not updating HMRC records

Frequent questions to the Charities Helpline include (with feedback from CTG on the answers below):

  • What are the time limits for claiming Gift Aid & GASDS?
    • Your deadline to claim Gift Aid depends on how your charity is set up. You need to claim for a donation within 4 years of the end of the financial period you received it in. This is:
      • the tax year (6 April to 5 April) if you’re a trust
      • your accounting period if your charity is a community amateur sports club (CASC), a Charity Incorporated Organisation (CIO) or a limited company
    • You must claim on cash donations under the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme within 2 years of the end of the tax year that the donations were collected in.
      • Relevant HMRC guidance can be found here.
  • How does my charity register online to claim Gift Aid via the Government Gateway/Charities Online?
    • Full details can be found here.
  • Can Gift Aid be claimed on the likes of raffle tickets (or similar events)?
    • Chapter 3.4.5 of HMRC’s Gift Aid guidance states: Payments to a charity in return for services, rights or goods are not gifts to charity and so are not eligible for the Gift Aid Scheme. For example, the following cannot come within the Gift Aid Scheme: payment for admission to events (jumble sales, concerts); payment for raffle or lottery tickets (including 100 clubs) – the payment to purchase a raffle ticket from a charity is not a gift but a payment for the right to enter the raffle – it does not matter that the chance or expectation of winning a prize is small or that the prize is of little value.
    • In respect of auctions, Chapter 3.40.1 of HMRC’s Gift Aid guidance is clear that a payment for an item at a charity auction is not a gift to charity, it’s a purchase. However, when a person purchases a lot at a charity auction, they may intentionally pay more than it is worth in order to support the charity. So, on that basis and depending upon the circumstances, part or all of a successful auction bid may qualify as a Gift Aid donation to the charity. The payment will only qualify as a Gift Aid payment if the normal requirements of the Gift Aid Scheme are met, and that includes satisfying the Gift Aid benefit rules.
    • Read the full HMRC guidance for more details.

HMRC has also published a helpful guide to completing the Gift Aid Schedules which can be read here.