Nick Hurd to probe HMRC on Gift Aid abuse

Shadow charities minister tables parliamentary questions

Conservative charities spokesman Nick Hurd is to question HM Revenue & Customs about the administrative burden imposed on charities by its attempts to prevent abuse of Gift Aid.

Hurd was tabling parliamentary questions as Third Sector went to press, asking HMRC how many people it employs to clamp down on abuse and how many charities have been sanctioned.

"HMRC has set up what, on the face of it, appears to be quite an onerous risk-management process," he told Third Sector.

"I'd be quite interested to get a better idea of what risk we think we are dealing with here - in terms of cases of abuse that have been identified. And how many people are employed at HMRC to manage this process?"

Research last year by HMRC and the Charities Aid Foundation found that charities were often "over-regulating themselves" for fear of getting Gift Aid rules wrong.

Hurd said he had yet to commit himself on the issue of making Gift Aid an 'opt-out' system for donors, instead of the current 'opt-in' process.

He said: "I quite understand why a portion of the sector has got keen on the idea, but we need to look at it from all angles to make sure no unintended consequences are there."

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