The online giving platform JustGiving has welcomed proposals by HM Revenue & Customs to simplify the process of securing Gift Aid declarations from charity donors using online giving platforms.
In a consultation paper published yesterday, HMRC set out proposals to allow an intermediary between a donor and a charity, such as an online giving platform, to ask for authorisation to complete Gift Aid declarations on a donor’s behalf.
This means that rather than donors having to complete Gift Aid declarations for every donation they make – which is what happens under the current system – online giving platforms would be able to seek permission to automatically create declarations on their behalf for any donation made in the remaining tax year.
A spokeswoman for JustGiving said that the company was delighted that HMRC was looking for ways to simplify the Gift Aid process and make it easier for individuals to claim every penny they could for the charities they cared about.
HMRC says in its consultation that the new system would work regardless of how many charities each donor supported during the tax year, as long as all the money was donated through the agreed intermediary.
It proposes that any donor that provides an intermediary with authorisation should be able to withdraw their consent at any time, which would mean the intermediary would have to revert to requesting Gift Aid declarations for every donation.
The consultation also states that authorisation would need to be provided once every tax year by the donor, but says that any authorisation provided by a donor after 1 March would last until the end of the next financial year.
An annual statement of donations made during a tax year would also be sent to donors who gave £5 or more that year and gave money to more than one charity through the intermediary.
HMRC says in the consultation that it expects the proposals to increase the number of Gift Aid declarations and help relieve administration burdens on intermediaries.
Up to 139,000 charities are registered for Gift Aid and around 66,000 currently claim it.
"The measure should ease the ongoing administrative burden on a small number of intermediaries by relieving them of the need to receive a Gift Aid declaration for each individual charity," the consultation says.
"It is anticipated that intermediaries will incur one-off costs to familiarise themselves with this policy and to put systems in place to implement the change. Estimates of the impacts on intermediaries and charities will be established once details of the measure have been finalised."
Commenting on the proposals, a spokesman for Virgin Money Giving said: "Virgin Money Giving welcomes any changes that help charities raise as much money as possible for good causes."
We successfully collect Gift Aid on over 75 per cent of donations, and will continue to engage with the consultation in the best interests of charities and fundraisers."
The consultation will run until 11.45pm on 5 October.