Chancellor pledges to simplify Gift Aid system for charity shops

British Heart Foundation, which has 709 shops in the UK, says administration of Gift Aid for donated goods costs it about £150,000 a year

British Heart Foundation shops
British Heart Foundation shops

Charities have welcomed a pledge in today’s Budget to simplify the administration of Gift Aid in charity shops.

The policy was not mentioned in Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget speech in parliament, but is listed in the full Budget document that was published immediately afterwards.

The document says: "The government will work with the charity sector to simplify the administration of Gift Aid in the context of charity shops."

A spokesman for the British Heart Foundation, which has 709 shops across the UK, said the administration of Gift Aid from donated goods cost the charity about £150,000 per year in staff time and postage.

"This is a really welcome announcement," he said. "The current process is very cumbersome and this should save us a lot of money."

Wendy Mitchell, chief executive of the Charity Retail Association, said charity shops could claim Gift Aid on donated stock under the current system only if they first wrote to the person who had donated the items to check that they did not intend to claim the tax relief themselves. 

"We would like to see a system in which donors could be asked when they donate whether they would be happy for the charity to claim Gift Aid once the item is sold," she said.

"We are not sure of the details of any changes that the government will make, but we are very pleased that it has agreed to simplify the system. This is something we have been working very hard on."

See our round-up of stories on the 2012 Budget

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