Benefits limit increased for major donors

Chancellor says move to allow donors up to £2,500 in benefits without their donations losing tax relief should encourage the wealthy to give more

Major donors' benefit limit increased
Major donors' benefit limit increased

Donors to charities will be able to receive up to £2,500 in benefits from those charities without their donations losing tax relief, Chancellor George Osborne announced in today's Budget.

Osborne unveiled the measure as part of a drive to encourage "wealthy people in our society to give even more".

He said the Gift Aid benefit limits would be increased "from £500 to £2,500 so that charities and museums can say thank you properly".

The change is immediate and will benefit charitable organisations, including museums and theatres, that often offer benefits to major donors such as tickets to viewings or performances.

The previous limit was £500 and applied to donations of more than £10,000.

The new limit is likely to apply to donations of more than £50,000, papers released by the Treasury indicate. Below that level, a limit of 5 per cent of the donation would apply, the papers show.

Simon Weil, a partner at the charity law firm Bircham Dyson Bell, said: "This is a limit that has caused large headaches for these organisations.

"If you invite someone who's given many thousands along to a couple of events a year, you can easily find their gift no longer qualifies for tax relief."

John Hemming, chair of the Charity Tax Group, said the move was a step in the right direction, but did not go far enough.

"We would have preferred a higher cap," he said. "And we would also have preferred it to be a percentage of the gift rather than a flat limit.

"There will be a detailed consultation on it, and we will need to make sure we engage closely with that consultation."

See round-up of 2011 Budget stories

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