Gift Aid claims and HMRC

In March 2019, the Charity Tax Group organised a meeting with HMRC to discuss issues regarding data used in Gift Aid claims. Rachelle Rowbottom has summarised some of the key points that charities should be aware of

HMRC guidance can be unclear in certain situations and charities generally take a conservative view so that they don’t fall foul of the rules. HMRC do not want to discourage charities from claiming Gift Aid where it is reasonable to do so.

HMRC has provided some clarification on certain administrative aspects of the gift aid regime.

  • Obvious errors in address details provided on declarations eg typos can be corrected for the purposes of the Gift Aid claim. The original declaration should be retained with details of what research was undertaken to support the amendment made.
  • Transposition of names on a declaration, for example first names and surnames being included the wrong way around, can be corrected by the charity in the Gift Aid claim and HMRC have stated that the changes should be documented.
  • Where charities have clearly requested a donor’s home address they are able to accept the information provided unless there is an obvious error in which case some research may be needed.
  • Foreign addresses can be used – the key point is that the individual pays sufficient UK tax.
  • Addresses marked ‘c/o’ should be excluded unless there is a power of attorney in place.
  • BFPO addresses are valid.
  • Information in a different language is acceptable if understandable and software can deal with it.
  • HMRC will accept a Gift Aid claim on a donation from a joint bank account where the cheque is signed by the non-donor as long as a declaration is in place for the donor.
  • Gift Aid claims that include multiple names at the same address are permitted.
  • Sponsorship forms can be completed in the same handwriting.
  • Sponsored event income can be included on one line in the claim under the name of the participant. Where this is a child eg for a school event, the head teacher’s name should be used.

There seems to be an over-riding message that HMRC want the information included in a Gift Aid claim to be correct and as long as the charity is acting in good faith, based on reasonable information then minor amendments to data can be made.