The fundraising platform JustGiving and HM Revenue & Customs are at odds over allegations that the taxman rejected Gift Aid claims on donations with accompanying messages referencing more than one person.
In a blog published on the JustGiving website yesterday, Katherine Scott-Barrett, head of partnerships at the company, says the fundraising platform experienced an increase in Gift Aid rejections from HMRC "after a more stringent application of regulations".
The blog says JustGiving was asked to "retrospectively remove" Gift Aid claims on donations which referenced more than one person in the name or message boxes on JustGiving pages.
It says HMRC said the policy was "part of a sector-wide attempt to improve the way Gift Aid is applied".
But HMRC today denied making any change to how it applies Gift Aid rules.
The JustGiving blog says: "JustGiving has worked closely with HMRC for 15 years, ever since we pioneered the reclaim of Gift Aid on online donations. We have worked especially hard over the last few months to develop suitable solutions to the challenge of interpreting ‘family donations’, and shared with HMRC the very useful feedback we received from charities and users alike.
"We are delighted to be able to confirm that within the last fortnight, as part of a series of ongoing changes, HMRC has agreed to a temporary lifting of this family type restriction. Until notified otherwise, JustGiving expects to be able to claim Gift Aid on donations with associated messages that contain no more than four names of linked family members. This should significantly reduce the number of future donations which have Gift Aid retrospectively removed."
The blog says JustGiving has been given permission to retrospectively claim Gift Aid on all donations complying with HMRC’s regulations and that it is working to ensure charities affected get the correct funds as quickly as possible.
But an HMRC spokesman said Gift Aid could be claimed on donations with messages from multiple people."We want Gift Aid claimed on as many eligible donations as possible," he said.
"All individuals donating to charity, even if their donation includes additional names to a supporting message, can claim Gift Aid to boost their donation. We work very closely with charities to ensure the Gift Aid rules are applied correctly and they receive the full benefit of all donations."
HMRC does not allow Gift Aid on donations from groups, but does allow joint declarations as long as the full name and address of each person is included and both parties make clear how much of the donation relates to each of them.