Finance: New Gift Aid rules 'will not affect well-organised attractions'

Charities might not lose money because of the new rules on Gift Aid for admissions, according to the working party set up to help them implement the changes.

Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, clamped down on Gift Aid claims on day admissions in this year's Budget, forcing organisations to persuade visitors to pay an extra 10 per cent on top of the admission charge if they wanted to claim a tax concession. Heritage charities and other attractions feared that their income would be hit.

Ken Robinson of the Attractions Gift Aid Liaison Group said that if charities operated the new compromise system well, they might not end up out of pocket.

"Operated on a tightly managed basis, the most organised attractions think it should be possible to equal previous success," he said. "Badly operated, they might achieve no more than 25 per cent of their previous revenues."

The Treasury has said that if organisations achieve a 70 per cent take-up on the new system they would be no worse off than before.

Since the new rules were first announced, HM Revenue & Customs has conceded that charities can offer incentives that encourage visitors to pay the extra 10 per cent.

These can include gifts, guidebooks or vouchers for an attraction shop.

But their value has to be within 25 per cent of the donation.

"Operated without incentives, most attractions believed that getting 70 per cent take-up would be out of reach," said Robinson. "But with the possible allowable incentives, backed by a national branded scheme, this is much more achievable."

The liaison group has produced logos and 'advisory wordings' that can be adapted by any charitable attraction operating the new Gift Aid scheme.

These will be made available towards the end of the year.

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