HMRC has today published new Gift Aid Declarations for one-off donations, multiple donations and sponsored events. This follows a series of discussions with the Charity Tax Forum Gift Aid Working Group, of which CTG is a member, during which various new drafts Declarations were considered.
Charities and CASCs holding stocks of printed materials using the previous model declaration may continue to use these until 5 April 2016, after which the new Declaration must be used. Incorrect Declarations may result in Gift Aid claims being invalid.
The new Declaration has been shortened (removing unnecessary references to VAT and Council Tax) and contains a clearer call to action which demonstrates the value of making a Gift Aid claim. Due to concerns about the tax gap and the need for donors to be fully aware of the requirement to have paid sufficient tax to cover their Gift Aid claim, HMRC has insisted on a new wording making clear this responsibility to pay any difference. We are concerned that this increased focus on personal tax status could have a chilling effect on some donors, but recognise the importance of Gift Aid being operated correctly and think this is an improvement on earlier HMRC drafts which stated that donors would be liable for any tax shortfall.
The new Declaration will apply to all new donations. Importantly, following negotiations with officials, declarations that are already in place do not need to be updated, saving charities significant time and expense. HMRC recommends that all charities and CASCs use the wording of the HMRC approved model declaration but it is important note that they remain free to adapt the model declaration, for example to include their own branding or additional messages. Chapter 3.6.2 of the HMRC guidance has been updated to reflect the information that must be included in a Gift Aid Declaration.
CTG Chairman, John Hemming, commented: “The introduction of a shorter Gift Aid Declaration is a welcome development which should help to ensure that Gift Aid is easier to understand for donors, maximising take-up by those eligible for the scheme. We are pleased that following discussions with the sector HMRC has agreed to phase the implementation of the new Gift Aid Declarations until April next year. However, more needs to be done to promote awareness of this change, to ensure that charities are compliant with the new Gift Aid declaration and do not face the prospect of invalid claims. We will also continue to work with officials to ensure that the Gift Aid Declaration is as flexible as possible for use on digital platforms, including SMS, where take-up is still too low.”
Notes for editors
The Charity Tax Group (CTG) has 500 members of all sizes representing all types of charitable activity. It was set up in 1982 to make representations to Government on charity taxation and it has since become the leading voice for the sector on this issue. CTG has persuaded successive Governments to introduce a range of tax reliefs and has also campaigned successfully to protect existing concessions, saving charities a considerable amount of money in the process.