No individual has received any tax repayments from a major "Gift Aid tax-avoidance scheme" believed to be the Cup Trust, an official at HM Revenue & Customs has confirmed.
Cathy Wilson, an official from HMRC, told the Charity Tax Group’s annual conference today that a circular Gift Aid tax-avoidance scheme had been reported to the revenue under Disclosure Of Tax Avoidance Schemes rules, introduced to prevent major tax-avoidance schemes from operating.
The rules mean HMRC cannot identify individual cases. But the scheme, which she referred to as "Project 2010", is presumed to be the Cup Trust.
Any individual attempting to claim tax relief is required under law to declare that they have used a scheme registered under Dotas. This means that any Cup Trust donors would have had to declare they had given to the charity, and HMRC would therefore know to refuse tax relief claimed by those donors.
"Our view is that this scheme doesn't work," said Wilson. "We haven't made any repayments of tax to anyone who's used this scheme."
The Cup Trust, which according to the Charity Commission's website makes grants to smaller charities that help children and young adults, raised £176.5m in private donations over two years but spent just £55,000 on good causes. It was criticised for being a tax-avoidance scheme by MPs on the Public Accounts Committee in March.