Charities received an estimated £3.25bn of tax relief in 2013/14, an increase of £250m on the previous year, say new figures from HM Revenue & Customs.
Data published by HMRC today shows that relief for individuals giving to charity also rose by £50m to £1.1bn over the same period.
The two largest components of tax relief for charities were a projected £1.59bn of business rate relief and £1.06bn in Gift Aid repayments. It also includes Stamp Duty Land Tax relief of £310m and £300m in VAT relief for charity.
Most of the tax relief for individuals came in the form of inheritance tax relief and Gift Aid higher-rate relief, totalling £500m each.
It is the 14th consecutive year of growth in tax relief for charities, and the fifth straight year in which donor relief has gone up.
But the figures also show that the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme, which allows eligible charities and community amateur sports clubs to claim a Gift Aid-like payment on donations totalling up to £5,000 on small donations without individual paperwork and was launched in April 2013, has made a slow start.
The HMRC figures show that the government paid out only £7m to voluntary sector organisations under the GASDS, despite government estimates that it could grow to be worth more than £100m annually.
Shortly after it was launched, Sajid Javid, who was then the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said the scheme could raise £130m a year by 2017/18. Chancellor George Osborne’s 2012 autumn statement said this could rise to £150m.
Before its launch, the scheme was criticised by voluntary sector umbrella bodies as complicated and restrictive, and Gareth Thomas, who was then shadow minister for civil society, said charities that wanted to use it would need to read nearly 100 pages of guidance.
The HMRC estimates will be updated in December, and other HMRC data on charity tax relief will be published in June.
Some of the figures for 2012/13 that were published by HMRC last summer have been revised in this newly released update.