Charities received Gift Aid payments totalling more than £1bn in the tax year 2009/10, according to provisional figures released yesterday by HM Revenue & Customs.
Tax repayments to UK charities, made up of Gift Aid and associated transitional relief, plus £19m of other income, were predicted to total £1,026m in the last tax year, up from £967m in the previous year.
Estimates made earlier this year predicted that tax repayments would fall to £951m.
John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said the rise in Gift Aid levels was no reason for complacency.
"It is great to see record amounts of Gift Aid claimed in a year when our research shows that overall giving has fallen," he said. "But this is no reason for complacency – we know that many hundreds of millions of pounds of potential Gift Aid still remains to be harnessed for the work of charities.
"With the support of the new government, perhaps it will now be possible to drive through a radical simplification of Gift Aid processing to maximise the tax recovered on charitable donations."