Online claims system could boost take-up of Gift Aid by charities, says think tank ResPublica

Report for Charities Aid Foundation says change would also bring cost savings for HMRC

Gift Aid online
Gift Aid online

A major overhaul of the Gift Aid system to enable charities to file claims online could significantly reduce the £750m of unclaimed Gift Aid every year, according to a report commissioned by the Charities Aid Foundation.

The report, Digital Giving: Modernising Gift Aid; Taking civil society into the digital age, written by research organisation ResPublica, says technology could streamline all charities' Gift Aid claims and even allow them to be made on all text message donations.

The report says that a system could be put in place that would enable all text message donations to be tax-efficient, which it says could be worth £15.4m per year to charities by 2014.

A spokeswoman for ResPublica said it was trying to set up a steering group involving Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, to open the way for charities to use such a system.

HM Revenue & Customs currently requires all Gift Aid claims to be made on paper.

Philip Blond, director of ResPublica, said: "An online system for filing Gift Aid claims would not only offer savings to charities - it would also reduce the £5 HM Revenue & Customs currently spends on processing each Gift Aid claim it receives, and enable HMRC's accounting to be more accurate."

ResPublica said it has been working with telecommunications company Iceni Mobile to design a system where donors would register with a piece of software that would eventually be able to calculate how much Gift Aid a charity is owed every time it receives a donation.

The Respublica spokeswoman said the system had been designed and was ready to be constructed for use.

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