Treasury won't confirm if Budget will ban online donation platforms taking fees from Gift Aid

The Sun claimed over the weekend that Chancellor Philip Hammond would crack down on the practice in today's announcement

The Treasury has refused to comment on speculation that the Chancellor will use today’s Budget to announce a ban on online donation platforms claiming fees from Gift Aid.

In July Robert Jenrick, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and the minister responsible for charity tax, said he was taking steps to prevent some online platforms, including JustGiving, from taking a slice of Gift Aid to cover their fees rather than taking money directly from donations.

Platforms operating in this way typically claim the Gift Aid on eligible donations on the charity’s behalf then deduct their fees from the Gift Aid.

Jenrick called on the platforms to stop the practice and warned that he had "instructed HM Revenue & Customs to prepare steps to bring this to an end" if they did not.

Over the weekend, The Sun newspaper reported that Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was planning to launch "a crackdown" on the practice in the Budget this afternoon.

But a Treasury spokesman would not confirm to Third Sector today whether this was the case, saying that the department did not speculate on the Budget’s contents ahead of its presentation to the House of Commons.

Hammond is due to give his Budget speech in the House of Commons at about 3:30pm today.

Karl Wilding, director of public policy and volunteering at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations said on Twitter this morning that the ban on claiming fees from Gift Aid was likely to be the biggest charity story from today’s Budget announcement.

He said it was something NCVO had been aware of and had been in conversations with sector partners about.

"Until we have seen the detail, the question we of course have is: who is going to pay for the running of the fundraising platforms?" he tweeted.

"I hope the answer is not nobody. Do charity donors really want to go back to giving/sponsorship by putting money in a bucket?"

In a statement, an NCVO spokesman said: "We'll be looking out for the detail of this announcement, and we'll work with colleagues in the sector to determine what impact it could have on charities themselves."

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