Treasury proposes changes to make Gift Aid easier for digital donors

Consultation suggests allowing donors to complete one declaration to cover all their donations made 'through a specific intermediary'

The Treasury
The Treasury

The Treasury has proposed that donors should be allowed to make a single Gift Aid declaration for each method of digital giving.

A Treasury consultation, called Gift Aid and Digital Giving, says the government is looking at "proposals that would allow donors to complete just one Gift Aid declaration to cover all their donations to all charities made through a specific intermediary".

It would mean that all text donations or all donations made through a giving website could be covered by a single declaration. It also would allow non-charities that have been approved by HM Revenue & Customs to collect either declarations or Gift Aid itself on a charity’s behalf.

The Treasury is also proposing a much shorter Gift Aid declaration for donations under a certain threshold, which it says would be between £1,000 and £5,000.

Under existing rules, if a donor has not paid sufficient tax to cover Gift Aid it is the donor, not the charity, that must repay the money. But the consultation proposes that for donations under the new threshold "the potential tax charge should be moved to the recipient charity".

The proposed new model declaration is 52 words instead of 111.

The document asks for further information on a universal Gift Aid database, which would allow donors to fill out a single Gift Aid declaration covering all their donations to all charities. All donor declarations would be held in a single database and donors would be given a unique identifier, which charities could use to claim Gift Aid.

"While the government has no current plans to build or operate a universal Gift Aid database, it would consider how it could support the introduction of a database if a suitable model could be developed," the document says. "The government would particularly like to use this consultation to find out more about views from charities, donors and other interested parties on certain aspects of the idea."

The consultation says that the government will work with charities over the next few months to develop promotional materials to increase the take-up of Gift Aid.

It is estimated that the proposals would cost the government about £15m a year in extra tax relief.

A Treasury statement said the consultation contained "proposals for one of the biggest reforms of Gift Aid rules in recent years". It said the government had already introduced a number of changes to extend Gift Aid.

"But further reform is necessary to modernise the system," it said. "The way people give is changing, and new technology is allowing people to make donations in ways that could not have been imagined 10 years ago.

"These reforms will make it easier for charities to claim tax relief on donations made online or by text message, ensuring that more money goes to good causes."

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