Online Gift Aid system 'will be in place by 2013'

Government will withdraw Self Assessment Donate to fund its introduction

John Low, chief executive, Charities Aid Foundation
John Low, chief executive, Charities Aid Foundation

An online system for charities to claim Gift Aid will be introduced by 2013, it was announced in the Budget today.

The government's first step will be to publish 'intelligent' forms that contain automatic checks about charities when they claim tax reliefs, as Justine Greening, the economic secretary to the Treasury, announced in a recent Public Administration Select Committee meeting.

To help fund the introduction of online Gift Aid, the government will withdraw Self Assessment Donate for tax returns for 2011/12 onwards.

SA Donate allows anyone who is entitled to a tax refund to enter a charity reference code on their tax return if they would like to have all or part of the repayment sent directly to a charity.

John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said the government's commitment would revolutionise Gift Aid and go a long way towards eating into the £750m that goes unclaimed each year.

Ralph Michell, head of policy at Acevo, said this was a welcome move, given the loss this year of Gift Aid transitional relief – something Acevo felt should have continued.

"Our position was that transitional relief should be there until substantive reform was brought in, and this is substantive reform," he said.

Lee Grant, head of membership communities at the Institute of Fundraising, said: "The 2013 online system of processing Gift Aid is well overdue and will save both time and money for charities claiming Gift Aid relief."

See round-up of 2011 Budget stories

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