The number of charities that made Gift Aid claims fell from 66,370 in 2011/12 to 63,740 last year, figures from HM Revenue & Customs show.
In response to a written request from Toby Perkins, Labour MP for Chesterfield, about the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme, Sajid Javid, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, drew attention to the latest HMRC figures.
The data shows that 66,370 charities made claims totalling £1.05bn in 2011/12, but this fell to 63,740 charities claiming £1.002bn in the following year.
Ity also shows show that 68,360 charities claimed £1.005bn in Gift Aid in 2009/10 and 63,180 charities claimed £1.071bn in 2010/11.
Charities received transitional relief on all donations that were subject to Gift Aid between April 2008 and April 2011. The relief was brought in to help charities adjust to the reduction in the basic rate of income tax in 2008.
Javid said in his response to Perkins that it was too early to assess the impact of the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme because it only began in April.
He reiterated that the government would carry out a review in three years of the scheme, which enables charities to claim Gift Aid-like payments on small donations totalling up to £5,000 a year without individual paperwork.
Javid did not respond directly to Perkins’ question about the number of charities that had made Gift Aid claims in three out of the previous seven years and two out of the previous four years.
The government amended the legislation to introduce the small donations scheme to enable charities that had made Gift Aid claims in two out of the previous four years from three out of the previous seven. This came in response to claims from the voluntary sector that the eligibility criteria for the scheme were too difficult for many small charities.