Gift Aid gets connected

The way you apply for Gift Aid is changing: Charities Online will make it quicker, easier and cheaper, says Andrew Edwards, head of charities at HM Revenue & Customs

Andrew Edwards
Andrew Edwards

From 22 April, Gift Aid payments will be quicker, easier and cheaper to apply for with the introduction of our new service, Charities Online.

The new system, which will replace the existing R68 print-and-post repayment form, will allow charities and community amateur sports clubs to make repayment claims online through the HM Revenue & Customs website.

The other two options are making claims through your own integrated software – ideal for those filing claims for more than 1,000 donors; and, for those without the internet, a new paper form that can be scanned more easily.

The new system will also make it easier to claim Gift Aid for sponsored events, because all the donations can be put into one entry under the name of the participant. Only individual donations from a donor of £500 or more will need to be separated out and listed individually on the claims form.

The rules for aggregating Gift Aid donations will also change in Charities Online, allowing claimants to add together more small donations. The existing limit of £500 will be increased and claimants will be able to aggregate individual Gift Aid donations of £20 or less, up to a total of £1,000 per entry.

The new service is being introduced in response to feedback from customers. We have already written to some 90,000 charities and CASCs to explain the new system. As charities and CASCs prepare themselves for the changes, however, we will continue to accept R68 forms until 30 September 2013.

For further information on how to use the system, please visit the HMRC website.

Andrew Edwards is head of charities at HMRC

 Checklist for Charities Online

- Make sure everyone involved in the Gift Aid process is aware of the changes – these might include trustees, agents or outsourced suppliers that claim Gift Aid on your behalf.

- Register for the new system when it opens. If you usually prepare the claim but are not the authorised official, discuss with the official how the claims will be submitted on the new systems.

- If you are claiming by using your own database, you will need to speak to your software provider to check that you know about Charities Online and are changing your software package so that it works with the new service. Alternatively, you will need to buy or build a software package that will work with HMRC’s online system.

- All claims will have to include the donor’s postcode. HMRC knows that not all charities have their donor’s postcode, so transition arrangements have been made to allow claims to be made without the donor’s postcode or for non-UK addresses.

Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme

The Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme is also being introduced in April. This will allow charities and CASCs to claim top-up payments on cash donations of £20 or less without the need to collect Gift Aid declarations. Charities will generally be able to claim payments on small donations of up to £5,000 each year. To find out more about GASDS visit here.

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