The heads of chief executives body Acevo, the Charity Tax Group and the Institute of Fundraising have written to the Chancellor, George Osborne, expressing their disappointment at the Gift Aid forum meetings and calling for an extension of transitional relief.
A report detailing the recommendations of the recent meetings of the forum – a discussion group involving charity umbrella bodies and civil servants – is due to be published shortly. It is expected to contain a number of suggestions about the simplification of Gift Aid.
The letter, signed by Stephen Bubb, chief executive of Acevo, Helen Donoghue, chief executive of CTG, and Amanda McLean, who will become chief executive of the IoF next month, says they do not think the report "represents our view of the future of Gift Aid" and calls for an extension of transitional relief, which is worth around £100m a year to the sector and is due to expire in April.
It says the organisations support many of the recommendations that will be in the report, such as a Gift Aid database and the possible simplification of the process, but says that because these changes will take some time to implement, they should run parallel to the extension of transitional relief.
Transitional relief was introduced for three years in 2008, when the basic rate of income tax was reduced. Without the relief, the reduction means the amount of Gift Aid available to charities for every pound donated falls from 28.1 pence to 25 pence.
"Our sector faces an extraordinary few years of growing responsibilities and declining resources," the letter says. "We are clear that our priority during these difficult times is the extension of transitional relief. We believe that should be seen as the minimum outcome of the Gift Aid forum and that it would clearly demonstrate in action the welcome support for our sector, which you personally, and the government more broadly, have expressed over the past few months."
Ralph Michell, head of policy at Acevo, said that if transitional relief ended in April, the sector would be facing "a perfect storm" of rising demand for services and huge funding cuts, as well as a potential loss of £100m a year through the cessation of transitional relief.