Earlier today I reported on the drop in the Gift Aid reclaim period from six years to four years:
with effect from April 2010.
I still think this is a major development, and not for the best. But it doesn’t seem to be attracting much attention or discussion here and elsewhere.
Have I missed something? Was this development known about beforehand? Was there any effort by sector bodies to try to stop it going ahead, or at least arguing for a staged introduction?
Wiping out a third of the potential Gift Aid income you can claim for in one go, and giving charities less than 12 months to prepare for this change, seems to be rather precipitous.
Or am I being naive? Although I see that the Government says that this move is not designed to single out charities, is this not the long-awaited response from the government that often (rightly) criticised the charity sector for failing to make the most of the Gift Aid opportunity? Was there an inevitability about this then, and that’s why no-one seems particularly bothered?
The main reason that there’s been little charity sector comment so far is that this move from 6 years to 4 years for refund claims is not aimed at charities per se, but is part of a wider rationalisation of reclaim rules for all businesses etc. Gift Aid is simply caught as part of a much bigger simplification.
Another reason is that the core announcement was made by HMRC a month or two ago (though it didn’t specifically refer to Gift Aid). Within the charity sector, Gift Aid specialists Stewardship alerted their members a week or two ago. Until the full details are spelled out it is difficult to comment.
And its actually nice to get 12 months notice of a tax change – sometimes things happen almost overnight!
Thanks Ian. I had assumed that neither we nor Third Sector magazine were the first to feature this development, so well done to Stewardship for getting the word out.
But I’m still puzzled why there hasn’t been more debate in the sector about this major change. I don’t remember any of the sector’s umbrella or membership bodies, whether fundraising or finance related, flagging up this development to me.
If it was announced a month or two ago, was there any consultation or least information sharing with sector bodies beforehand?
I would agree with Ian that although some charities picked this up from the core announcement, I get the feeling that many are waiting for charities division to issue a confirmation notice on their site – you would expect it here http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/charities/news.htm
but there is nothing there and no change anywhere on the site I can find.
I don’t think there will be much debate until there is an official announcement specifically referring to Gift Aid.
Or have I missed something?
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