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Unticked Gift Aid boxes see charities lose out on almost £600m a year

Melanie May | 19 March 2018 | News

Figures released today (19 March) by HMRC show the charities are losing out on almost £600m a year through unticked Gift Aid boxes.
The research shows that a third of eligible donations made to many of the UK’s 200,000 charities did not add Gift Aid when they could have done, equating to a loss of around £600m annually.
It estimates that £8.91bn was donated in the 12 months prior to the research, with Gift Aid added to just over half (52%) of this, amounting to £1.16bn. While 88% of the 1,377 people interviewed were aware of Gift Aid, understanding of the scheme is mixed, with just over a quarter (26%) having ‘good’ understanding, a third (33%) ‘fairly good’ understanding, and the remaining donors having a ‘fairly poor’ or ‘poor’ understanding (30% and 11% respectively).
Overall, 8% of the value of donations made in the 12 months prior to interview had Gift Aid incorrectly added to them by ineligible donors according to the research, generating a Gift Aid tax gap of up to £0.18bn. In addition, 25% of the value of donations did not have Gift Aid added to them where the donor was eligible, contributing up to £0.56bn to the value of unclaimed Gift Aid.
HMRC is calling on people to tick the box when they make an eligible donation. The department has also written to 50,000 charities to promote the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme and explain how to claim the 25% top-up on cash donations. Under the scheme, a declaration is not needed for donations worth up to £20.
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Robert Jenrick MP, said:

“The UK has thousands of brilliant charities, all working hard to make people’s lives better. Through Gift Aid, we are already giving charities an extra £1.3 billion of funding so they can continue their important work.

“We know how crucial this funding is. This is why we’ve just written to 50,000 charities to tell them about the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme, which makes it even easier for charities to claim a 25% top-up on their donations.”


Why your supporters are wealthier than you think... Course by Catherine Miles. Background photo of two sides of a terraced street of houses.

Commenting on the news, Daniel Fluskey, Head of Policy & External Affairs at the Institute of Fundraising, said:

“The Institute of Fundraising welcomes the publication of HMRC’s research on Gift Aid which urges supporters to declare Gift Aid on donations. This research estimates that there could be an extra £600m given through Gift Aid – crucial extra money that could make a real difference for charities to do more for their causes and beneficiaries. The IoF has pushed for improvements to the system to make it easier for supporter to give Gift Aid and are glad to see that HMRC are committed to ensuring that the system works as best as it can to deliver maximum value for charities.
“We are pleased to be part of HMRC’s working group to review the recommendations of the report, and look forward to working together so that charities can benefit from the extra money that could be claimed.”