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Are you up to speed with the changes in Gift Aid?

From the 22nd April 2013 changes to the system for claiming Gift Aid came into force with old system only being an active alternative until only September of this year.

The changes to Gift Aid were announced in the 2011 Budget. The new process replaces a paper form that charities currently use to claim tax repayments. HMRC’s new systems enable charities to connect their databases directly to HMRC’s computers, or make claims by uploading data via standard HMRC spreadsheets. An alternative paper form will be available for the smallest charities or those without online access.

McLintocks, who act for a number of charitable organisations, are concerned that the timescale for getting the new processes in place is challenging and that charities are underestimating what is involved. An urgent review of these changes, if not already done so, should be the priority to ensure systems are ready and recording the necessary donor information.

As a basic checklist, we are urging all our charity clients (and non-clients) claiming Gift Aid to:

  • Ensure the right people in their charity know about the changes and when they will happen.
  • Read HMRC’s guidance on Charities Online available on the HMRC website.
  • Make sure they involve IT colleagues and decide which of three new options – an online claim form, claim using own database, claim using paper form -– they will use.
  • Check which of the following steps they should take:
    • Register with the Government Gateway
    • Download and start using the standard HMRC spreadsheets
    • Speak to software suppliers or internal software development teams
    • Order the new paper forms from HMRC Charities (0845 302 0203)

Whilst also making sure they:

  • Get their Gift Aid claims up to date and check that their Gift Aid declarations remain valid.
  • Ensure their systems are collecting all of the required information for a valid Gift Aid claim including a donor’s postcode.
  • Make sure their Gift Aid processes are robust as HMRC will be better equipped to scrutinise Gift Aid claims.
  • Check if they can benefit from the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme.

As ever, if you have any queries over this, please feel to contact one of our Charity experts Mike Caputo (01244 680780) or Helen Furlong (0151 647 9581):