HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) pay around £1 billion a year to charities and other qualifying bodies through Gift Aid.

This introductory guide is not intended to comprise exhaustive coverage of the subject. Reference should be made to the legislation for all technical and practical questions.

At a glance

At a glance

What's new?

Budget 2018 proposed that Secondary legislation will be published which will increase the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme individual donations limit from £20 to £30 from 6 April 2019. This is so it aligns with the contactless card payment limit. The Small Charitable Donations Act 2012 was amended by Statutory Instrument on 21 February 2019 to make this proposal law.

Legislation has been included in Finance Act 2019 which introduces new, simplified restrictions to associated benefits that donors can receive.

From 6 April 2019, the proposed benefits allowed are:

  • For donations up to £100, 25% of the donation.
  • For donations above £100, £25 plus 5% of the excess donation above £100 up to a maximum benefit of £2,500.

Finance Act 2019 also includes the following changes from April 2019:

  • Charity shops using the Retail Gift Aid Scheme can send letters to donors every three years rather than every year when their goods raise less than £20 a year.
  • The small trading tax exemption limit for trading not related to a charity's primary purpose will be increased as follows:

Annual charity income 

Max non-primary purpose income 

Under £32,000 


£32,000 - £320,000 

25% of income

Over £320,000


What is Gift Aid?

Gift Aid is an Income Tax relief designed to benefit recognised charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs).

  • Unless otherwise indicated in this guide, the term 'charity' includes a CASC.

Under Gift Aid, a charity may claim a tax refund when it receives a donation payment from a taxpayer who is an individual.

  • The individual donor must have paid sufficient Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax in order to cover the grossed-up amount of the donation made otherwise they will have to repay HMRC for the tax refunded to the charity.
  • The relief is set out in Chapter 2 Part 8 ITA 2007.
  • Gift Aid relief does not apply to donations made by companies.

How Gift Aid works

Tax relief for the charity

  • A donation made under Gift Aid is treated as if it has been received by the charity net of basic rate tax.
  • The charity is then able to reclaim the basic rate tax credit.

For example:

If an individual taxpayer makes a donation of £100, the charity can reclaim an additional £25 (£100 x 20/80)

Tax relief for the donor

  • A donor who is a basic rate taxpayer will receive no further tax relief as a result of making a donation.
  • A donor who is a higher and/or additional rate taxpayer will be able to claim tax relief on the difference between the higher/additional rate tax and basic rate on the grossed-up donation.

For example:

An individual taxpayer makes a donation of £100, the charity can reclaim an additional £25, giving a grossed-up donation of £125.

Where the taxpayer is a 40% taxpayer, £25 (40%-20% x £125) can be reclaimed, giving a net donation cost of £75.

Where the taxpayer is a 45% taxpayer, £31.50 (45%-20% x £125) can be reclaimed giving a net donation of £68.50.

What form of donation qualifies for Gift Aid?

  • Gift Aid applies to qualifying money donation payments, made by individuals who have made a Gift Aid declaration.
  • Providing certain qualifying conditions are met payments for subscriptions, memberships, sponsorship may also be Gift Aided.
  • Gift Aid is restricted where the donor receives a valuable benefit as a consequence of making a donation. The acceptable benefit limits are set out in the Income Tax Act 2007.

Getting started: Gift Aid

To operate Gift Aid, a charity is required to:

  • Be properly constituted and register with its appropriate supervisory body.
  • Apply to HMRC in order to obtain a registration number and claim its tax repayments on Gift Aided donations.

To claim a tax repayment a charity is required to:

  • Ensure that donations are supported by Gift Aid declarations.
  • Maintain sufficient records for audit trail.
  • Claim using HMRC’s online service or alternatively use bespoke software or, in cases where online filing is impossible, file on a paper form ChR1.
  • See Compliance tab.

Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS)

From 6 April 2013, the Small Charities Donations Act 2012 allows charities to claim a new Gift Aid style tax refund on up to £5,000 per year of small cash donations received from individuals which are not covered by Gift Aid declarations. This rose to £8,000 on 6 April 2016.

From 6 April 2017, charities with two or more community buildings can choose whether to claim on a UK wide basis, where the £8,000 limit applies to all UK donations or on a community buildings basis. Note: that this provision does not apply to CASCs.

If the charity claims on the community buildings basis, they can claim up to £8,000 of small cash donations made in the same Local Authority Area as each community building.

How GASDS works

  • Cash and contactless payments donations of up to £30 (from 6 April 2019) per individual are treated as if they have been received by the charity net of basic rate tax.
  • The charity is then able to reclaim a basic rate tax credit as a top-up.

For example:

If an individual taxpayer makes a cash donation of £20 to a charity's street collection tin. The charity reclaims £5 (£20 x 20/80) from HMRC.

GASDS: Tax relief for the donor

  • The donor does not receive any tax relief for a donation under GASDS.

Getting started: GASDS

From 6 April 2017, to claim a top-up payment on small donations under GASDS, a charity must:

  • Make Gift Aid repayments and receive and bank non-Gift Aided cash donations.
  • Not have received a penalty in the last two tax years relating to Gift Aid or GASDS.

Key areas of difficulty for charities and their advisers

The Gift Aid legislation contains a series of complicated rules in respect of associated benefits. These are explained in more detail in the Overview section.

The GASDS rules contain some special rules for applying the cap for connected charities and charitable activities run from Community Buildings, these are discussed in the GASDS section.

HMRC provide some detailed guidance on dealing with specific forms of donations in different sectors. These are discussed in more detail in the Special Cases section.

Non-Gift Aid: Other types of gift

  • Shares, securities or real properties to charities (Part 8 Chapter 3 ITA 2007).
  • Trading stock (S.108 -110) ITTOIA 2005.
  • Payroll giving (Part 12 ITEPA 2003).

Companies and Gift Aid

  • Charitable companies are able to reclaim Gift Aid on donation payments made by individuals.
  • Donations made by companies to a registered charity or CASC are not within Gift Aid relief. However, a company may receive Corporation Tax relief on the charitable donations it makes as a deduction from its profits.



Donations that qualify for Gift Aid

A donation will qualify for Gift Aid relief providing that:

  • It is accompanied by a Gift Aid declaration.
  • Conditions A to F (the 'Gift Aid Conditions') are met:
  1. The gift is a payment of a sum of money.
  2. The payment is not subject to any repayment conditions.
  3. The payment is not a donation under the payroll giving scheme (section 713(3) ITEPA 2003).
  4. The payment is not deductible in calculating the donor's income.
  5. The payment is not related to any arrangement involving the acquisition of property by the charity from the donor or persons connected to him.
  6. Any benefits associated with the gift do not breach certain set limits ('benefits').

What is a gift?

A gift includes a payment for no consideration or in consideration of a small benefit.

  • A payment in return for goods, rights or services is not a gift.
  • An overpayment over and above the market value of goods, rights or services can be a gift.

What is a payment?

A payment includes payment by cash, cheque, direct debit, credit card, debit card, postal order, standing order, banker's draft, telegraphic or online banking transfer.

A sum of money

A 'sum of money' can be in any currency. It excludes:

  • A gift of services or non-cash assets.
  • A release of a debt or a waiver.
  • An accounting or book entry.
  • A gift by will.

Gift Aid can apply to payments made of:

  • Subscriptions.
  • Membership fees.
  • Successful bids at charity auctions and fund-raising events.
  • The proceeds of the sale of the donor's goods.
  • Sponsorship payments.

Gift Aid does not apply to:

  • Gifts of money with repayment conditions attaching.
  • Payments for goods or services.
  • Set participation fees.
  • Payments made using charity vouchers or cheques.
  • Loan waivers.
  • Barter transactions.
  • Gifts from companies.


  • Gift Aid is restricted where a charitable donor receives a valuable benefit as a consequence of making a donation.
  • The level of benefit that is permissible is strictly calculated according to the size of the donation.
  • It can be difficult to value benefits, especially where there is no commercial equivalent.
  • There are some oddities within the rules: for example, free entry to view charity property in return for a donation that is at least 10% more than the usual admission charge fee is not treated as a benefit.

Defining benefits

A benefit is treated as being associated with a gift if the donor or a person connected to him receives the benefit as a consequence of making the donation.

The value of any benefit must not exceed defined limits in order to meet Gift Aid condition F.

This test is decided on the basis of the result of a benefit value test.

  • For single gifts: on a benefit value per gift basis.
  • For a series of gifts: on the basis of aggregate value.

Benefit Value Tests

Per gift

The value of a benefit deriving from a gift is calculated as follows:

Amount of donation

Benefit value limit

£0 -£100

25% of the gift

£101 - £1,000


Above £1,000

5% (prior to 5 April 2007 - 2.5%) of the gift

Above £10,000

£2,500 (from 6 April 2011)
£500 (from 6 April 2007)
£250 (before 5 April 2007)
subject to the rule that the benefit must not exceed 5% of the gift

For example:

Jill is a member of the Ambridge Tennis Club, a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC). If she makes a donation of £10 to the club it will qualify for Gift Aid provided that she is a taxpayer and she receives no benefit or a benefit that does not exceed £2.50 (25% of £10) from the club in return for her donation.
If the club charges members £3 per session for use of its lawn courts and it wishes to give members like Jill a free session in return for making a donation then the member must donate more than £12 in order to ensure that the 25% benefit test is met.
Alternatively, if Jill agrees to pay separately for her tennis session and then makes a donation the two payments should not be linked and the donation should qualify for Gift Aid, whatever the size.

It follows that advisers should ensure that charities and clubs have a full grasp of the benefits rules to ensure that there is no risk that a benefit and a donation may become linked.

Following Simplifying the Gift Aid Donor Benefit Rules: Response to the Further Consultation the Government announced changes to the rules to be introduced from 6 April 2019:


Maximum benefit

Up to £100

25% of the donation

Over £100

£30 plus 5% of donation, to a maximum of £2,500

Legislation to this effect will be introduced in Finance Bill 2018-19.

Following the introduction of Finance Act 2019 (Section 40), the new maximum benefits are set at from 6 April 2019:


Maximum benefit

Up to £100

25% of the donation

Over £100

£25 plus 5% of the donation from £101 up to a maximum of £2,500

These limits apply to each donation made.

Where a donor makes a series of gifts

The Aggregate Value Test ensures that the maximum benefit that can be received by the donor taking into account all Gift Aid donations made during the tax year is £2,500 (£500 up to 6 April 2007).

For example:

Phil makes two donations of £50,000 to his favourite organic farming charity in 2012/13 and in gratitude, it gives him holiday vouchers which entitle him to discounts worth £2,500 apiece. Taking each gift separately, the value of each holiday voucher does not exceed the 5% benefit test, however, the value of all the benefits received from this series of gifts amounts to £5,000 and so fails the Aggregate Value test.

Anti-avoidance: Gifts and benefits linked to periods of less than 12 months

The Benefit Value Test limits are modified in order to prevent avoidance of the benefit rules by splitting gifts.

Where gifts and benefits are linked the further conditions A, B, C or D, as follows, must be met:


A. A benefit associated with the gift relates to a period of less than 12 months.

B. A benefit associated with the gift consists of a right to receive benefits at intervals over a period of less than 12 months.

C. A benefit associated with the gift is one of a series of benefits which are:

  • received at intervals, and
  • associated with a series of gifts made at intervals of less than 12 months.
If condition A, B or C is met, then:
  • the value of the benefit is taken to be the annual equivalent of its actual value, and
  • the amount of the gift is taken to be the annual equivalent of its actual amount.

D. A benefit associated with the gift is not one of a series of benefits received at intervals, and

  • the gift is one of a series of gifts made at intervals of less than 12 months.

If condition D is met, the amount of the gift is taken to be the annual equivalent of its actual amount.

What is the 'annual equivalent' of a benefit or gift?

Step 1

Multiply the value of the gift and then the benefit by 365.

Step 2

If condition A or B is met in relation to the benefit (and neither condition C nor condition D is met in relation to it), divide the results by the number of days in the period of less than 12 months.

If condition C or D is met in relation to the benefit, divide the results by the average number of days in the intervals of less than 12 months.

For example:

Linda makes a payment of £120 to a performing arts charity and this entitles her to a five per cent discount on theatre tickets purchased in the next six months (183 days). She purchases tickets with a retail value of £300 in those six months and receives a discount of 5% or £15.

The discount received meets Condition A (a benefit relating to a period of less than 12 months) and so the annual equivalent of the gift and benefit must be calculated.


Annual equivalent

Payment made: £120

£240 (£120 x 365 days ÷ 183 days)

Benefit: £15

£30 (£15 x 365 days ÷ 183 days)

The annual equivalent value of the discount of £30 exceeds the small benefit limit of £25 (the limit for donations of between £100 and £1,000): Linda's donation fails the benefit test and cannot qualify as a Gift Aid donation.

Valuation of benefits

  • Valuation can be difficult, especially where there is no market value or other method of comparison available.
  • The starting point is that a benefit is valued on the basis of the value to the recipient rather than the cost to the charity of providing it.
  • Where a benefit has no market comparison the method of valuation may be made by taking the cost to the charity of creating it, for example, when an event is staged that is not open to the general public the benefit might be determined by taking the cost divided by the number of expected attendees.

Items not quantified as benefits for Gift Aid Condition F

  • Small benefits; provided that they fall within the tests above.
  • The right of admission to view charity property if it is granted for a period of at least a year at the same times as the general public can gain admission or in return for a donation of at least 10 per cent more than the admission charge.
  • A simple acknowledgement of a donor's generosity provided that it is not an advertisement.
  • Literature describing the work of the charity or CASC such as newsletters, annual reports or a members' handbook.
  • Events or dinners where there is no significant element of additional fundraising involved.
  • Naming rights (e.g. naming part of a building after a donor) provided these are unsolicited and not expected in return for a donation.

Extra Statutory concessions

By concession, HMRC allows other benefits to be provided in the following circumstances:

  • Split payments: If the charity can accurately establish a benefit’s market value and that product is sold separately and offered to the general public, the charity can deduct its market value from the gross donation and claim Gift Aid on the rest of the money donated.
  • Averaging: The charity can average the cost of a benefit over a number of donors.
  • The total cost of a lifetime benefit can be valued over a 10-year period.
  • Literature is of inconsequential value, so literature that describes or promotes the work or objectives of the charity is assigned no financial value.

Gift Aid and Donor Benefits: What’s new?

HMRC opened a consultation, Simplifying the Gift Aid donor benefits rules, following a call for evidence about how and why charities provide benefits and the use of the extra-statutory concessions and admission disregards.

Then initial consultation in February 2016 proposed four simplifications to the current rules. In response to this consultation: 

  • All four extra-statutory concessions will be legislated, including the lifetime benefit concession with effect from April 2018
  • A further consultation was released in November 2016 on the possibility of reforming the benefit value tests and disregarding low-value benefits.

This consultation closed on 3 February 2017 and HMRC are currently analysing the responses.

For details see above and the consultation response.

Companies and Gift Aid

Charitable companies are able to reclaim Gift Aid on donation payments made by individuals.

Donations made by companies to a registered charity or CASC are not within Gift Aid relief. A company may receive Corporation Tax relief on the charitable donations it makes as a deduction from its profits provided that:

  • The donation does not come with a condition about repayment.
  • The company or a person 'connected' to the company does not receive a benefit over a certain value in return for the donation.
  • The donation is not subject to a condition or arrangement that the charity will purchase property (other than as a gift) from the company or a connected person.
  • Relief is given after all other reliefs other than by group relief.
  • Legislation: Part 6 of CTA 2010,
  • See HMRC: Gifts to charity made by companies

Companies may also obtain tax relief on the cost of charitable gifts other than cash:

Special cases

Special cases

Charities are able to claim Gift Aid relief on many different types of payment received from individuals. This section summarises some of the special rules that apply to such donations.

  • Fundraising: Trips and events
  • Fundraising: Sponsorship
  • Schools: Special fundraising days
  • Educational school trips: Voluntary parental contributions
  • Educational trusts: Voluntary parental contributions
  • Church collections
  • Membership subscriptions
  • Admission fees
  • Charity auctions
  • Voluntary workers expenses
  • Goods: When sold and proceeds gifted

Fundraising: Trips and events         

A charity may obtain Gift Aid relief on payments it receives to finance its activities such as the laying on of trips and events.

Donation payments made by both the supporters of the charity and participants taking part in a trip or attending an event may qualify for Gift Aid:

  • Where a supporter makes a donation this will qualify for Gift Aid.
  • Where a trip or event is free and open to general participants, those who participate are able to Gift Aid any voluntary contributions that they decide to make towards its cost.
  • Attendance should not be conditional on making the donation.

How this works

Donations made by the supporters normally pass the benefit test because:

  • They do not take part in the trips and events.
  • They receive no benefits as a result of their payment.
This requires care: it depends on how the donation is made and whether there is someone connected to the donor going on the trip. For example, if a parent donates money to a school for their child to go on a school trip, they are not taking part in the trip but their child is and the child is of course connected to the donor.

The participants pass the benefit test because:

  • The trip or event has already been funded by the contributions of others.
  • There is no entry fee and so a donation made does not secure any additional benefit.

For example:

A charity raises £3,000 from its supporters to stage a fundraising fireworks festival. The event is fully funded by the supporters and open to everyone. During the event participants are encouraged to make donations to the charity, these potentially all qualify for Gift Aid relief.

Payments that fail to qualify for Gift Aid

A payment made to participate in a trip or event will not qualify for relief if the payment is used by the charity to part-fund the event. This is because it fails the benefit test, the value of the benefit will in those circumstances be the equivalent to the sum paid to take part.

A participant can alternatively be asked to pay a fixed fee to cover the proportion of the costs of running the event and then separately make a donation. The donation will then be separate from the participation fee and will qualify for Gift Aid.



Qualifying for Gift Aid



Donations made in order to fund events and activities promoting the objectives of the charity

Donations that are used to fund non-charitable activities


Donations that do not secure a benefit

Unconditional donations

Participation fees, where the participant must pay to enter, pay a fee to enter or must raise sufficient funds to participate

For further information see Charity events

Fundraising: Sponsorship

A charity may hold fundraising adventure or challenge-type events such as sponsored walks, cycle rides or adventure trips abroad. Participants taking part in these types of event are encouraged to obtain sponsorship which is then passed to the charity.

Where the cost is fully funded by the charity

  • Where the event is fully funded by the charity and free to participants, all sponsorship payments may potentially be Gift Aided.

Where the participant pays an entry fee

  • Where the event is not fully funded by the charity, participants may be asked by the charity to contribute to its cost. Typically they may be asked to pay a non-refundable deposit or a registration fee and then raise sponsorship.
  • In order to work out the value of a benefit, the charity is required to work out the cost per participant of holding the event.
  • Where a payment by the participant equals the cost per participant, the payment will not qualify for Gift Aid because the benefit limits are exceeded (the benefit = the cost to the participant).
For example:

A charity organises a cycling treasure hunt. All prizes are donated by local firms. The charity incurs advertising and printing costs. It estimates that if 100 people take part the cost per participant is £3. It also provides forms and encourages participants to obtain sponsorship to complete the hunt course. It decides to set an entry fee of £5 per head. Over 100 people take part in the event.

The £5 entry fee does not qualify for Gift Aid, as the cost of the event and so the benefit to the participants is £3 per head. None of the entry fee may be Gift Aided as the benefit test is not met.

Where the participant must raise sponsorship to take part

  • Sponsorship by parties connected to the participant is treated as being made by the participant and as such, they will only qualify for Gift Aid if the benefit limits are not exceeded.
  • Sponsorship payments made by persons not connected to the participant are unaffected and can be Gift Aided.

Conversely, if the participation cost of the event is kept entirely separate from sponsorship, Gift Aid relief may be claimed on sponsorship funding. In order to qualify, a participant must pay the charity the full advertised cost of the event from his own resources so that the value of the donor benefit is reduced to nil.

For example:

A charity organises a trek across Africa. It calculates that the cost of the trek amounts to £1,000 per head. It asks participants for a deposit of £250 and requests that they raise sponsorship of at least £2,000 in order to take part in the trip. The benefit of the trip is the cost less deposit paid = £750 (£1,000 - £250).

Brenda decides to take part in the trek, she raises £2,500 in sponsorship. The benefit of the trip of £750 is more than 5% of the £2,500 raised and so none of her £2,500 sponsorship qualifies for Gift Aid.

Alternatively, if Benda had agreed to pay £750 to the charity on her own account, all the sponsorship money collected would have qualified for Gift Aid.

Note that: there are restrictions where sponsorship is provided by connected parties as below.

Sponsorship and connected persons

When a participant is required to collect sponsorship in order to participate in an event, any sponsorship pledged by a person connected with the participant is treated as if it was donated by the participant. This has a significant effect on the benefit value tests.

For example (continuing the example above):

If Brenda had agreed to pay £750 to the charity on her own account and contributed a further sum made up of donations received from sponsors made up of family members, the total contribution would have to exceed £15,000 in order to pass the benefit test (£750 is 5% of £15,000).

Charities should take all reasonable steps to ensure that Gift Aid payments are not received from persons connected to a participant in order to avoid breaching the benefit value tests. HMRC expect a participating charity to include in the event literature and on the sponsorship form:

  • An explanation that sponsors connected to a participant cannot make their donations by Gift Aid.
  • The definition of a 'connected person'.

What is a 'connected person'

A person is 'connected' with a donor if that person is:

  • The wife or husband.
  • A relative (brother, sister, ancestor e.g. mother) or lineal descendant (e.g. grandson).
  • The wife or husband of a relative.
  • A company under the control of the donor, or under control of connected persons.

HMRC has produced a template sponsorship form.

For further information see Adventure fundraising events

Schools: Special fundraising days

Schools with charitable status may hold special fundraising days in order to raise money for themselves or in support of external charities. Typically, on a 'non-uniform' day, children donate a small sum, usually £1 and in return are allowed to wear their own clothes for the day. Similar days may feature 'crazy hair', 'mad hatters' or 'wrong trousers'.

HMRC hold the view that as the children are required to make a donation to take part in the fun day, the benefit of the event is the donation and so the benefits value test is not met. Where a donation is not mandatory and children are able to participate even when they fail to make a donation then all donations made should potentially qualify for Gift Aid relief.

Where a school holds a special fundraising day for an external charity, it is receiving donations as an agent for the charity and has no entitlement to the donations it receives. The charity is able to claim any Gift Aid relief (providing that any donations are accompanied by a Gift Aid declaration and audit trail).

For further information see Gift Aid for school charities

Educational school trips: Voluntary parental contributions

Where a school asks parents to contribute to the cost of a school trip, a parental contribution may qualify for Gift Aid relief in certain circumstances.

  • A school may ask parents for voluntary contributions in respect of an educational trip (or any other event).
  • If a school trip is fully funded by the school or others and will go ahead irrespective of any parental donations, then any voluntary parental contribution made will be eligible for Gift Aid.
  • A voluntary parental donation will not qualify for Gift Aid relief if it secures any special treatment or benefit for the pupil, or is refundable, or conditional on other parental gifts.

Where parents are asked to contribute toward the cost of a school trip which will not go ahead without parental funding, the payment will only qualify for Gift Aid where the benefit arising from the donation does not exceed the maximum permitted, see example below.

The rules in this area are also complicated by the fact that different types of school face further restrictions. Whilst many private schools retain charitable status, state-funded schools are not permitted to charge pupils for visits undertaken as part of the National Curriculum which occur during school hours.

For example:

A school visit has been arranged to a local museum, it is fully funded by the school and available to all pupils. Parents are asked to make voluntary contributions. The benefit to the child of the donation is £nil because the trip has already been funded by the school.

Participation payments and benefit limits

A benefit is calculated on the basis of the average cost per pupil including travel costs, trip insurance, cost of entry and associated educational material, cost of food and drink supplied and any other costs associated with the trip (costs averaged per pupil if appropriate).

For example:

The school asks parents for a voluntary contribution of £10 in order to fund a half-term trip to a gallery. The trip will not be able to go ahead without parental contributions.

  • The cost of the trip works out at £8 per pupil (transport £5 entry £2 and brochure £1). The benefit value of the trip is therefore £8 per pupil.
  • A payment of £10 cannot be made under the Gift Aid scheme as the benefit of £8 exceeds the 25% limit (it is 80%).

If a parent wishes to make a voluntary contribution towards the trip that qualifies for Gift Aid it should be either:

  • Made separately.
  • Ensure that the benefits level is not exceeded.

So, a parent may decide to pay £10, as requested and then may choose to pay:

  • A separate donation under Gift Aid for an extra amount.
  • £32 and the whole payment will qualify for Gift Aid, as the benefit of £8 is no more than 25% of the gift.

For further information see Gift Aid for school charities

Educational Trusts: Voluntary parental contributions

An Educational Trust may be established to provide education for children as an alternative to State education. Parents are often not required to pay any set fees to cover the costs of tuition and other overheads, but instead may make payments described as donations.

  • Parental donations will only qualify for Gift Aid where HMRC can establish that the Trust would be able to meet the costs of providing the education in the absence of the donations.
  • A payment (by donation or otherwise) made in return for educational benefits provided does not qualify for Gift Aid.
  • Where a Trust is independently financed (by regular fees, regular donations, endowment or grant funding) and it is not dependent on additional parental donations, the cost of providing tuition etc for that parent’s child will not be treated as a benefit in consequence of the parental donation. Providing the other Gift Aid criteria are met, Gift Aid relief might be available on those donations.

HMRC says that the situation for each Trust is to be judged on its own merits.

• For further information see HMRC: School charities

Church collections

Charitable churches

A church may be recognised as a charity by HMRC. All donations received from collections or other means may attract Gift Aid relief provided that they are accompanied by a Gift Aid declaration.

  • Gift Aid declarations on collection envelopes: a donor's details can be recorded on the envelope which can then be retained as part of the charity's audit trail.
  • Regular donors should complete a single Gift Aid declaration to Gift Aid all future donations paid.

Churches collecting on behalf of charities

A church may make collections on behalf of various charities and these may qualify as Gift Aid donations.

If the church has not exercised any discretion in collecting donations, so that donations are merely given to the church to pass on to a particular charity then:

  • The church has no entitlement to the donations it collects on behalf of the charity.
  • The charity is able to claim any Gift Aid relief (providing that donations are accompanied by a Gift Aid declaration and audit trail).

If the church exercises its discretion and decides to open a fund for donations to a particular charity, then:

  • The fund collected becomes a designated fund of the church.
  • The donations form part of the church’s income.
  • The church is able to claim Gift Aid relief (subject to the normal requirements).

It is expected that the Gift Aid tax reclaimed should be passed to the charity by the church.

For further information see HMRC: Church collections

Membership subscriptions

A payment made in respect of a membership subscription to a charity or CASC is treated as a gift provided that the following conditions are met:

  • The payment does no more than secure membership of the charity.
  • The payment does not secure a right to personal use of any facilities or services provided by the charity.

Benefits and subscriptions

A benefit received as a result of the payment of a subscription is not treated by HMRC as a benefit for the purposes of the Benefit Value Test, including:

  • The receipt of periodic newsletters explaining the work of the charity.
  • An opportunity to visit and view the work of the charity.

A subscription payment which enables the donor to use the charity's facilities will not qualify for Gift Aid as it secures a benefit (subject to the Benefit Value Test limits).

Personal use of facilities or services may include:

  • Various training or playing benefits obtained for an additional fee over and above basic membership.
  • Individuals’ tuition or coaching.
  • Other educational instruction.
  • Free or discounted use of, say, a golf course or a swimming pool, not available on similar terms to non-members.

An individual donor may pay for a family membership or on behalf of a minor child on the same terms. The donor must be the person who has given a Gift Aid declaration to the charity.

For further information see Membership subscriptions

Admission fees

A 'relevant right of admission' is disregarded as a benefit for Gift Aid.

A right of admission means a right which:

  • Benefits the donor or his family members (not necessarily all at the same time).
  • Authorises admission to premises or property to which the public are admitted on payment of an admission fee.
  • Authorises admission to those premises or that property without payment of the admission fee or on payment of a reduced fee.

Admission conditions

A right of admission is a relevant right of admission if:

  • Conditions A and B are met, and
  • Either condition C or condition D is met.

Condition A: the opportunity to make a gift and to receive the right of admission in consequence is available to the public and:

  • It is not conditional on making a Gift Aid declaration.

Condition B: is that the right of admission is a right granted by the charity for the purpose of viewing a property that is preserved, maintained, kept or created by a charity for its charitable purposes. Such property includes:

  • Buildings.
  • Grounds or other land.
  • Plants.
  • Animals.
  • Works of art (but not performances).
  • Artefacts.
  • Property of a scientific nature.

Condition C: the right of admission applies during a period of at least 12 months at all times at which the public can obtain admission.

  • The charity is permitted to restrict access for up to five days per year to allow for special charity events.

Condition D: a member of the public could purchase the same right of admission, and

  • The amount of the gift is greater by at least 10% than the amount the member of the public would have to pay.

The same right of admission

This means a right relating to the same property, classes of persons and periods of time as the right received in consequence of the gift.


Type of admission Non-qualifying for Gift Aid Qualifying for Gift Aid

To view charity property: open to the general public

The standard entrance fee

A reduced entrance fee following a donation

A donation to allow admission for 12 months

A donation to allow admission that is at least 10% higher than the standard entrance fee

The right of admission must not be made conditional upon the donor making a Gift Aid declaration

To view:

non-charity property, or use charity facilities

or gain access to:

  • a performance
  • an event
All admission fees N/A

For further information see HMRC: Admissions to view charity property

Charity auctions

  • Charities hold auctions in order to raise funds.
  • They auction a range of different goods, services and often 'promises'.

A successful bid for an item at a charity’s auction can be Gift Aided provided that the benefits associated with the bid do not breach the prescribed Benefit Value Test limits.

The valuation of the benefit received in successfully bidding for an item at auction varies according to the nature of the item:

  • If the item is commercially available, the value of the item for the benefit limit is the 'shop sale' price of the item.
  • If the item is commercially available but it has an enhanced value, for example, because it has been owned by a celebrity, the market value is deemed to be unascertainable. This means that no part of the successful bid at action may be Gift Aided. HMRC has changed its view on this, previously it agreed that the benefit value was the actual price achieved at auction.
  • If the item auctioned is a 'promise', its benefit value will generally be the auction price, as this is assumed to be its market price, unless there is another commercial equivalent.

A charity will need to consider the valuation of each item in advance of the auction. If a charity can advise potential bidders in advance this will ensure that successful bidders complete Gift Aid declarations on the day.

For example:

A charity is auctioning a range of items, the following table indicates what can and cannot be Gift Aided.

Item Valuation Bid Gift Aid
A new boxed set of glasses Shop price £10 £20 No, benefits limit is exceeded
Vintage tea set Dealer estimates £25 £100 Yes, benefit is 25% of price paid
Signed photograph of a celebrity Unknown: auction price £? No, benefit is unascertainable
Promise to clean car Local car wash £5 £10 No, benefits limit exceeded
Promise to clean car Local car wash £5 £50 Yes, benefit is less than 25% of the price paid
Promise to 'carry your shopping for a day' Unknown: auction price £50 No, benefit is auction price

How to Gift Aid auction receipts

HMRC provide guidance for charities on how they might operate a workaround to the potential block on Gift Aiding auction bids. If the bidder is informed by the auctioneer prior to the auction of the commercial value or market price of the item, the bidder may agree to purchase the item at that price. In the event that the bidder is successful in winning that item in the auction, the amount bid in excess of the agreed purchase price is capable of being Gift Aided.

For further information see HMRC: Charity Auctions

Voluntary workers expenses

A charity may reimburse voluntary workers for their out of pocket expenses. Provided that a volunteer does not profit from the arrangement there are no tax consequences for the volunteer.

  • If a volunteer forgoes claiming the expenses he incurs, the amount forgone will not qualify for Gift Aid. This is because an amount forgone is not a payment.
  • A volunteer may not donate his time in lieu of a payment under Gift Aid because there is no payment made.

In order to make a donation that does qualify for Gift Aid a volunteer should claim any expenses due back from the charity and then make a donation payment to the charity separately.

For further information see HMRC: Voluntary workers expenses

Goods: When sold and proceeds gifted

Where a donor donates goods to a charity, goods do not qualify as 'payments' for Gift Aid. A donor may ask the charity to sell their goods, as their selling agent, the proceeds of the sale may then be Gift Aided back to the charity.

HMRC updated their guidance on this topic in 2013 and it now accepts three different methods by which Gift Aid may apply to the sales proceeds of goods:

  • The Standard Method.
  • Method A.
  • Method B.

The Standard Method

A charity or its trading subsidiary may act as a sales agent on behalf of an individual donor. The proceeds of such a sale received by the charity or its associate may then be Gift Aided to the charity. The seller must write and notify the donor to advise them of the sales proceeds.

  • Legal or beneficial title to the goods to be sold never passes to the charity, it (or a trading subsidiary) sells the goods as a selling agent on behalf of the donor.
  • The donor must complete a Gift Aid declaration before the charity markets the goods if the charity does not already hold one on their behalf.
  • The charity labels the goods so that the sales proceeds can be linked back to the donor.
  • When the goods are sold the charity shop writes to (or emails) the owner of the goods to advise them of the net sale proceeds. It explains that it intends to treat this amount as a gift to the charity unless the owner contacts the charity within 21 days (of the letter or email) to say they want to keep the proceeds.
  • The charity shop must then give the individual at least 21 days to respond to this letter before it treats the net sale proceeds as a donation to the charity.
  • The charity must use a standard method template letter (Standard Method template letter) when writing to the individual. Charities are free to add additional information to the letter or email or alter the opening and closing sections but the words in italics must be used.
  • The term 'net sale proceeds' means the sales proceeds after commission and any VAT charged on the commission have been deducted.

Method A

A charity acts as a sales agent (as in the ‘Standard Method’). There is no requirement to notify the donor of the proceeds of sale and the net sale proceeds are automatically Gift Aided provided that they do not exceed £100 per year.

  • The donor must complete a Gift Aid declaration before the charity markets the goods if the charity does not already hold one on their behalf.
  • The charity shop obtains the agreement of donor that if the total net sale proceeds of their goods in a year are below the agreed amount, the individual will not be offered their money back before the charity claims Gift Aid.
  • The charity shop will contact the donor if the net sales proceeds from the goods are more than £100, so the individual can then confirm that they also want to donate the proceeds in excess of £100.
  • The individual should also be asked if they would like to receive a letter at the end of the year informing them of the total amount raised from the sale of their goods. This is a requirement for higher rate taxpayers who wish to claim tax relief on their donations.

The charity must use the following template letters when writing to the individual:

Method B

Method B is only for use by charities that use a separate entity, such as trading subsidiary to run the shop for them. This method is similar to Method A but a trading company receives the goods, sells them on behalf of the donor and then donates the profits to the charity. The sales proceeds are automatically Gift Aided as long as they do not exceed £1,000 per year.

The charity must use HMRC’s template letters when writing to the individual:

In all cases the charity must retain an audit trail to show:

  • A copy of any written agreement made with the owner in order to sell the goods on their behalf.
  • Documentation that the owner has either been notified of the sale proceeds and that they have been given the opportunity to receive all of the net proceeds (Standard Method) or has made an agreement under Method A or B.
  • The Gift Aid declaration, together with the donor's name and address.
  • Records to show how the goods are identified as belonging to a particular owner.
  • Records to show the total donations Gift Aided under all methods per donor in order to provide higher rate taxpayers with the information to complete their Self Assessment returns.
  • In the case of a trading subsidiary of a charity records should show how the sale proceeds are remitted to the charity.

Acting as a sales agent may have unforeseen additional tax consequences for the charity or its trading subsidiary:

  • Selling activities are likely to amount to trading. The charity may be liable to direct tax on any profits.
  • It may be required to VAT register if its business activities exceed the registration threshold.
  • The gift may fail as the potential donor may decide that he wants to retain his sales proceeds.

For further information see HMRC: Claiming gift aid when goods are sold by, and the proceeds gifted to, charities


The Gift Aid Small Donations repayment scheme (GASDS)

The Gift Aid Small Donations repayment scheme (GASDS) was introduced by the Small Charitable Donations Act 2012.

  • From 6 April 2013, charities may claim a Gift Aid style tax refund on up to £5,000 of small cash donations per year.
  • From 6 April 2016, the above limit increases to £8,000 p.a.
  • From 6 April 2017, the charity can choose which of two limits to apply, in order to maximise relief:
    • Up to £8,000 p.a. on donations collected anywhere in the UK.
    • Up to £8,000 p.a. of donations from each Local Authority area in which the charity has a community building
  • Note that this provision is not available to CASCs.

What's New?

In Budget 2018 the chancellor has proposed that the GASDS limit is increased from 6 April 2019, to £30 to align with the contactless payment limit.

Following consultation the GASDS rules were simplified from 6 April 2017:

  • The two-year eligibility rule and the Gift Aid history requirement were removed entirely.
  • Contactless payments are included.
  • Charities may be able to claim more than £8,000 of small donations where they have more than one community building.
  • There is no change to the £20 small donations limit.

These new rules were introduced as part of the Small Charitable Donations and Childcare Payments Act 2017.

UPDATE 9 September 2020

The Small Charitable Donations Act 2012 was amended in 2019 by Statutory Instrument (S.I.2019/337) to increase the small donations cash and contactless payments limit to £30 from 6 April 2019.

Charities may apply to join a new scheme when they have established Gift Aid repayment claims for the last two years and meet various other conditions. Newly established charities should act immediately to ensure that they do not miss out by failing to register for Gift Aid, otherwise they may fail to meet the qualifying conditions for the scheme.

Key features of GASDS:

  • Charities are able to claim a tax refund or 'top-up payment' on small cash and contactless payment donations of up to £30 per donation.
  • The top-up is tax-free.
  • Any cash donations which are made with a Gift Aid declaration are excluded because these are accounted for under Gift Aid, which is separate to GASDS.
  • The tax refund or 'top up' is calculated as for Gift Aid: cash donation x basic rate tax%/100 less basic rate tax % (20%/80%).

The maximum amount of donations to which the claim relates cannot exceed the lower of:

  • Actual cash donations.
  • 10 times Gift Aid donations.
  • The Specified Amount: £8,000 UK-wide or £8,000 of donations made in each Local Authority in which there is a community building.

If the community buildings method is used, then only small donations made in the same Local Authority area as one of the community buildings can be claimed.

Specified amount post-5 April 2017

Example 1

A charity has one community building. During the tax year 2017 to 2018, it collects £10,000 in small donations. This charity can only claim top-up payments on donations up to £8,000 collected anywhere in the UK.

Example 2

A charity has two community buildings. During the 2017 to 2018 tax year it collected £10,500 of small UK donations as follows:

  • £2,000 in the Local Authority area of building A.
  • £1,500 in the Local Authority area of building B.
  • £7,000 outside of the Local Authority area of these buildings.

This charity is better off claiming a single £8,000 allowance on small donations collected anywhere in the UK.

Example 3

The same charity as in example two has the following small donations:

  • £5,000 in the Local Authority area of building A.
  • £4,000 in the Local Authority area of building B.
  • £6,000 outside the Local Authority area of these buildings.

In this case, it is better to claim based on the community buildings. This would enable the £5,000 and £4,000 to be claimed i.e. £9,000. The maximum claimable under the single method would be £8,000.

Example 4

The same charity has the following small donations:

  • £9,000 in Local Authority area of building A.
  • £1,500 in Local Authority area of building B.
  • £10,000 outside the Local Authority area of these buildings.

Again, the community building method would be better for the charity. £8,000 can be claimed relating to building A and £1,500 relating to building B i.e. £9,500, compared to £8,000 if the single limit was used.

Specified amount pre-6 April 2017

The Specified Amount was £8,000 (£5,000 pre-April 2016). This amount is capped where donations are received by connected charities and charities running charitable activities in community buildings, as below.

Under GASDS a charity or Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) will be able to claim a repayment of up to £2,000 per year on up to £8,000 of qualifying donations (up to £1,250 on up to £5,000 of donations pre April 2016).

Basic example 1:

In 2016/17 Bridge Farm Wetland Trust receives £2,500 in small cash donations from its collecting box. It also receives Gift Aid donations of £3,500. Provided all qualifying conditions are met, the charity claims a GASDS refund of £625 (£2,500 x 20/80).

Basic example 2:

Upper Loxley Nature Trust receives £2,600 in small cash donations and £120 under Gift Aid. The charity’s maximum donations limit for GASDS is £120 x 10, or if lower £5,000, or if lower £2,600. It is able to claim a GASDS refund of £300 (£120 x 10 x 20/80).

Conditions for GASDS

The charity claimant:

  • Is a charitable trust or company registered by HMRC as a charity or CASC for tax purposes.
  • It receives cash donations from individuals which do not also qualify for Gift Aid.
  • It banks all the cash donations in a UK bank or building society account.
  • It receives donations under Gift Aid.
  • It makes a claim under Gift Aid in the tax year.
  • It had not incurred a penalty under Schedule 24 Finance Act 2007, or regulations under section 11 SCDA 2012, on a Gift Aid or GASDS claim made in the current or previous tax year.

For periods pre-6 April 2017 there were two further conditions to be satisfied:

  • The charity has been running for two complete tax years (6 April to 5 April).
  • It has made a successful Gift Aid claim in at least two of the previous four tax years and has not had a gap of two or more consecutive years in which it did not claim Gift Aid.

Conditions for GASDS donations

  • Up to 5 April 2017 only cash: notes or coin, but not cheques or any other payment type.
  • Up to 5 April 2019: a maximum of up to £20 per individual donor.
  • From 6 April 2019: a maximum of up to £30 per individual donor.
  • No benefit must attach to the cash gift but a badge or sticker may be given to the donor.
  • Only cash banked in a UK bank or building society qualifies for GASDS.

Donations covered by a Gift Aid donation are outside GASDS and are not included because Gift Aid repayments are available on Gift Aided donations under the normal claim process.


Charities have to observe the detailed qualifying conditions and they need to ensure that:

  • They are not double-counting some cash donations which are made by donors who have already signed enduring Gift Aid declarations.
  • That they are not claiming GASDS on donations made of more than £30 per individual.
    • HMRC accept that it can be difficult in some cases to be certain whether a donation was £30 or less, for example, church plate collections.
    • Reasonable steps should be taken to ensure all donations are eligible:
      • Instruct collectors to record donations over £30.
      • Exclude any £50 notes from the claim.

GASDS: Special rules which cap the Specified Amount

The amount that can be claimed under the GASDS is affected by whether a charity is connected with another charity or CASC.

Meaning of 'connected'

In order for there to be any connection, the activities of two charities must be the same or substantially similar otherwise the connection tests do not apply.

A charity is treated as being connected to another charity and any other charities to which that charity is connected in the tax year:

  • Connected is defined by s.993 ITA 2007 as modified (as below) but excluding s.993(3).
  • A charitable trust is treated as if it were a company (and so 'a person').
  • Individual trustees are connected to other individuals if they are relatives, spouse or civil partners.

In summary, a charitable trust has 'control' of another person where:

  • Its trustees or directors have, or any of them has, control of the person.
  • Two charities have 50% or more of the same directors or trustees.

Control by influence

A person (other than a charity regulator) has 'control' of a charitable trust when:

  • The person is a trustee of the charity and some or all of the powers of the trustees of the charity could be exercised by the person alone or by acting together with other trustees who are connected persons.
  • The person, alone or together with other persons, has the power to appoint or remove a trustee of the charity.
  • The person, alone or together with other persons, has any power of approval or direction in relation to the carrying out by the trustees of any of their functions.

Control by number of trustees

A charity that is a trust is regarded as connected with another charity that is a trust if at least half of the trustees of one of the charities are:

  • Trustees of the other charity.
  • Persons who are connected with persons who are trustees of the other charity.
  • A combination of both.

Post-5 April 2017

  • If there are connected charities, one or more of which runs activities from a community building, all of the connected charities must claim on the community buildings basis unless an election is made.
  • If the connected charities, together, make an election they can share one single £8,000 UK collection limit equally.
  • The election may be beneficial if most of the small donations take place outside of the Local Authority area in which the community buildings are located.
  • If none of the connected charities run charitable events in community buildings, then they must share the one single £8,000 UK collection limit between them.

Pre-6 April 2017

The specified amount for GASDS claims in standard cases was £8,000 (£5,000 pre-April 2016). This is capped where charities are:

  • Connected.
  • Run charitable activities in community buildings (CACB).
  • Connected and run CACBs.

Connected charities

When charities are connected the specified amount for calculating the maximum GASDS claim is:

  • £8,000 divided by the number of charities making a GASDS claim.

This rule is modified in case where charities also run activities from community buildings.

Pre-6 April 2017: Charitable Activities run from Community Buildings (CACBs)

Relief under the GASDS is extended to include cash donations received by charities when running charitable activities in community buildings. This extra GASDS relief does not apply to the activities of community amateur sports clubs (CASCs).

A community building is a building such as a village hall, town hall or place of worship or part of a commercial building which the public can access, such as a meeting room or office.

  • Buildings or parts of buildings which are used mainly for residential purposes or other commercial purposes are not treated as community buildings unless a charity is using them exclusively for charitable activities, such as a residential home or a shop.
  • Where the same person holds freehold or leasehold interests on any two or more buildings on land or on any adjoining land, they are treated as being one building.

A charity 'runs' charitable activities in a community building in a tax year if on six or more occasions:

  • It carries out a charitable activity there with a group of people including at least 10 of its intended beneficiaries.
  • The activity is made available to the public or a section of the public.
  • None of the group is required to pay to access the building or the part of the building, in which the activity is carried out.

'Charitable activity' means an activity carried out for a charitable purpose, other than primarily for the purpose of fund-raising.

In the case of CACBS, the specified amount for the maximum GASDS claim is the sum of all small donations received which comprise:

  • The 'community building amount' that is the lower of the sum of all the small donations made by group members in each community building, or £8,000.
  • The 'remaining amount' that is the lower of all other small donations made to the charity or £8,000.

For example:

A charity runs charitable activities in three village halls and during these events, each hall collects £4,000 in small donations from the group attending. The charity also runs street collections during the year and collects small donations of £10,000. Its GASDS claim will be £ 20,000, which is £4,000 + £4,000 + £4,000 (the community building amount for each building) plus £8,000 (the remaining amount of £10,000 is capped by the 'if less £8,000').

From 6 April 2017, small donations received outside the community building but within the local authority area, will also qualify for GASDS.

Pre-6 April 2017: Connected charities and community buildings

If one or more connected charities run CACBs in the tax year then the specified amount is capped as follows:

1. If any of the charities do not run CACBS in the tax year, the specified amount in relation to a GASDS claim is an amount equal to:

  • The capped total of remaining donations being the sum of the remaining amount donations made to each of the connected eligible charities in the tax year, or if less, £8,000 divided by the number of the connected eligible charities which make a top-up claim in respect of small donations made in the tax year.

2. The charity that runs CACBs in the tax year is to be treated as not having made a top-up claim in respect of small donations made in the tax year unless:

  • Its total claimed amount for the year (the sum of the small donations made to the charity in the tax year and in respect of which it has made successful top-up claims) exceeds its community buildings amount for the year, that is the amount that would be the specified amount for the charity for the tax year if the charity’s remaining amount for that year were nil.

The maximum donations limits may not exceed 10 times Gift Aid donations and the connected charities can decide between them which of them will claim for those pooled remaining amounts on behalf of the group.

For example:

Three charities A, B and C are connected. Each receives donations under Gift Aid, B and C run CACBs and all receive small cash donations from street collections. The table summarises their options.


Donations from CACBs

Small cash donations (remaining amount)

Gift Aid

Limit (10 x Gift Aid)

If all claim remaining amount

If A claims remaining amount





























Capped to




Max claim per charity if all claim


£ 2,667

  • If all charities claim the remaining amount it is capped at £2,667 per charity.
  • If it is decided that Charity A will claim the pooled remaining amount its claim is capped at £8,000, otherwise it may only claim £2,667.
  • If Charity A does not claim the remaining amount, Charity B claims £3,000 which is £2,000 plus £2,667, but its claim is capped to £3,000 because of its Gift Aid donations, otherwise its claim will be £2,000 (the community building amount).
  • If Charity A does not claim the remaining amount Charity C claims £5,667, which is £3,000 plus £2,667, with no cap for Gift Aid donations.

Post-5 April 2017: Connected charities and community buildings

Charities can no longer claim a top-up payment on donations of up to £8,000 per charity plus an additional £8,000 of small donations for each community building they operate from.

Charities with fewer than two community buildings can only claim a maximum of £8,000 of small donations collected each tax year across the UK.

Charities with two or more community buildings may claim either:

  • A top-up payment on donations of up to £8,000 collected in each community building. Only small donations collected in the same Local Authority area will be eligible.
  • A top-up payment on donations of up to £8,000 collected across the UK.

Pre-6 April 2017: Mergers

Where a charity merges or amalgamates with other charities an application may be made to HMRC who will provide a certificate of compliance for GASDs, this will allow the new charity to take over the compliance history of the old charity and will ensure that GASDs claims may continue without any break.

Due to the change in eligibility rules from 6 April 2017, these merger rules were withdrawn. A charity no longer requires two years of Gift Aid claims.

Getting Started

Getting started

Applying to use Gift Aid

Gift Aid can only be claimed back by a charity or Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) that has applied to HMRC for a Gift Aid registration number and been approved by HMRC.


A charity or CASC is required to register with a charity regulator or HMRC. It depends on the type of body, its size and location

Register with England & Wales Scotland Northern Ireland
A charity regulator

Charities with an income > £5,000:

the Charity Commission

All charities:

the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator

Charities with an income > £5,000:

the Charity Commission
  • All charities
  • CASCs
  • CASCs
  • All charities
  • CASCs

Application to HMRC

Once a charity has made an application to HMRC it will be given a Gift Aid reference number and may claim tax repayments under Gift Aid.

  • A responsible person, who is not the tax agent is permitted to apply to HMRC.
  • The responsible person should have signed a Fit and Proper Person's declaration

Declaration: Fit and Proper Persons

Anyone acting as a manager of a charity or CASC must declare themselves 'fit and proper' to act and must complete a declaration to that effect. See Fit and Proper Helpsheet and Model declaration.


Charities register online with HMRC. You will need a Government Gateway ID for the organisation.

To qualify as a charity for tax purposes an organisation must:

  • Be established for charitable purposes only.
  • Be based in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway.
  • Be registered with a regulator (see table above).
  • Be managed by an "authorised official' and 'responsible' persons.

To complete the form the following details are required:

  • Full name and address of the charity.
  • Contact details, email, telephone number.
  • Bank account details and financial records.
  • Official’s details, including dates of birth and National Insurance numbers.
  • Registration number if you’re registered with a regulator.
  • Details of the charitable objectives.
  • The charity's governing document and date that this became effective. This can be its rules or constitution, memorandum or articles or foreign equivalent, a will or trust deed, an Act of Parliament.

Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC)

A CASC may operate Gift Aid on:

  • Voluntary donations.
  • Sponsorship of individuals raising funds for the club.

CASCs are only required to apply to HMRC and not a charity regulator. They must complete a CASC application form


The following information is required to be sent with the form:

  • Club's governing documents such as the prospectus, constitution, rules, or articles of association.
  • The club's latest accounts.

The form should be returned to Charities, Savings and International 2, HMRC, BX9 1BU.

The main purpose of a CASC is to provide facilities for eligible sports and to encourage people to take part in them.

To qualify as a CASC the club must be:

  • Formerly constituted.
  • Organised on an amateur basis.
  • Not-for-profit and prohibited from distributing profits other than to a charity or a CASC.
  • Open to the whole community.
  • Set up and provide its facilities in an eligible area.
  • Managed by fit and proper persons.

Benefits to members may include:

  • Use of the sporting facilities and equipment along with suitable coaching.
  • Medical treatment and insurance cover.
  • Some reasonable costs for travelling to away matches.
  • Some reasonable post-match refreshments.
  • Sale of refreshments such as food and drink.

Providing that it contracts on an arms' length basis it may:

  • Buy goods or services from members.
  • Employ and pay staff who are also members.

CASCs and other income and gains

Many CASCs run a bar in their clubhouses and receive other sources of income (e.g. interest, property income). CASCs are entitled to exemptions from Corporation Tax on the following other sources of income and gains provided the club uses all of its income and gains for qualifying purposes:

  • UK trading profits: if the turnover from the trade is <£50,000 a year (<£30,000 a year pre-1 April 2015).
  • UK property income: if the total income from property is <£30,000 a year (<£20,000 a year pre-1 April 2015).
  • Interest received.
  • Chargeable gains.

Authorising a tax agent

Use of a tax agent is optional. A charity or CASC may authorise a tax agent to act on its behalf by completing HMRC: form 64-8 or by authorising their agent via HMRC online.



Having obtained a registration number from HMRC, a charity is able to reclaim tax from HMRC under Gift Aid.

In order to make a tax repayment claim a charity is required to:

  • Retain and record Gift Aid declarations.
  • Complete a tax refund form online (in paper if online filing is impossible, with prior agreement with HMRC).

HMRC operates a 'check later' approach. A charity claiming a tax repayment under Gift Aid is subject to random checking by HMRC, see:

  • Audit by HMRC.

 Retain and record Gift Aid declarations

  • A donation under the Gift Aid scheme must be accompanied by a Gift Aid Declaration.
  • A charity is required to keep sufficient records in order to identify donation receipts together with Gift Aid donors and their declarations.
  • From 2013/14 charities may claim Gift Aid on collections of up to £5,000 per year comprising of small donations without obtaining a Gift Aid declaration, this limit rose to £8,000 from 6 April 2016 (see GASDS tab).

The Gift Aid declaration

The individual must give a declaration within four years of making a gift.

It can be made:

  • Orally.
  • In writing.

One declaration may cover one or a series of gifts. It is vital for the charity's tax compliance that it retains complete records of donations received.

Oral donations

A charity may receive donations by telephone. It is required to keep a record by audio recording or in writing of:

  • The donor's name, initial and surname, their address including house number/name and postcode.
  • The date of the declaration and written record.

The charity should explain to the donor that:

  • They must have paid enough Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax to cover the amount that all charities and CASCs they donate to will reclaim for that tax year and that the donor understands the charity will reclaim 25p of tax on every £1 that they have given (28p on every pound given for donations up to 5 April 2008).
  • They have a right to cancel the donation within 30 days.

The charity should offer to send a copy of its written record to the donor.

A written declaration must include:

  • The name of charity or CASC.
  • The amount of the donation.
  • The donor’s initials and surname.
  • His house name/number and postcode.
  • The date.
  • A statement or tick box confirming the amount should be treated as a Gift Aid donation.
  • The declaration may cover present/future/past donation(s) (see links to HMRC’s templates below).
  • A confirmation that the donor was given an explanation that they must have paid enough Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax to cover the amount that all charities and CASCs they donate to will reclaim for that tax year and that the donor understands the charity will reclaim 25p of tax on every £1 that they have given (28p on every pound given for donations up to 5 April 2008).

Gift Aid Declarations via intermediaries

Finance Act 2015 made changes to ITA 2007 allowing donors to claim gift aid on donations made to charities via intermediaries. This allows, for example, websites to collect donations on behalf of individuals and Gift Aid them on behalf of charities. Donors must make a gift aid declaration in respect of each charity donated to via the intermediary.

From 6 April 2017, individuals will be able to make one gift aid declaration per intermediary instead of per charity:

  • Donors can give intermediaries the authority to create Gift Aid declarations on their behalf.
  • Once authorisation is in place the intermediary can make Gift Aid declarations up to the end of that tax year (or the following tax year if authority is given on or after 1 March) or until the donor cancels the authorisation.

The Donations to Charity (Gift Aid Declarations) Regulations 2016 (SI 1195/2016) introduced these measures and also provides further measures on:

  • The form and content of intermediary declarations.
  • Record-keeping requirements for intermediaries and charities.
  • An annual statement to be provided to donors by intermediaries.
  • Penalties for non-compliance of up to £3,000.

Gift Aid Declarations and Partnerships

  • Up to 5 April 2016, one partner was able to make a Gift Aid declaration on behalf of all the partners in a partnership provided he was given such a power under deed (e.g. in the partnership agreement). The declaration must list all the individual partners’ names and home addresses.
  • From 6 April 2016, when a partnership makes a donation under Gift Aid each individual partner must make their own Gift Aid declaration, specifying the amount of each partner’s share of the whole donation.

Identifying the gift or gift

There is no wording set in the legislation, so charities can choose. These are some commonly used descriptions:

  • The donation of £[amount] that I make to you on [day/date].
  • All donations that I make to you under direct debit commencing on [date].
  • All donations I make from this date [date] and until further notice.
  • All donations I have made since [date] and all donations I make hereafter.

Gift Aid Templates

Templates: (updated 21/10/15) multiple donations for charities and CASCS

Our templates:

HMRC provides the following templates for charities and CASCs:

A single donation Gift Aid declaration

A Gift Aid Declaration template for multiple donations 

A Gift Aid sponsorship and Gift Aid declaration form

Creating your own Gift Aid declarations: HMRC’s checklist

It is not obligatory to use HMRC’s templates. HMRC has created two declaration checklists that charities and CASCs may like to use if they decide to create their own for both gifts and sponsorship events:

  • HMRC: Declaration checklist

Reclaiming Gift Aid tax from HMRC

HMRC launched a new online repayment service in April 2013. Form R68(i) has now been replaced and there are three repayment options:








By post

Aimed at:

Small charities

Large charities

The digitally excluded; those who are unable to use the internet

Max. no of donors per claim:



90 per claim (using a continuation sheet)


Complete a schedule spreadsheet and attach to the HMRC’s online form

Make up to one claim per day directly using own internal database and bespoke commercial software

Use new paper form ChR1 (replaces R68 claim form); HMRC automatically scan's your entries

Getting started

Sign up to use HMRC’s Online services and enrol for Charities Online

Either create own APP or buy commercial software. HMRC maintains a list of tested suppliers

Order forms and continuation sheets from HMRC’s Charities helpline

HMRC provides detailed instructions and FAQs about these services, see

Tax agents may file online for charities provided that they are authorised to act.

Links to get started

Option 1: to sign up for charities online:

Option 2: HMRC’s list of approved software suppliers:

Option 3: HMRC’s Charities Helpline tel:

0300 123 1073, or write to:

Charities, Savings and International 2

HM Revenue and Customs


United Kingdom

Include your HMRC reference number when you write, so your enquiry can be dealt with quickly

Compliance points

  • Repayment claims must be made within four years of the end of the accounting period or tax year to which they relate.
  • The charity is required to list each donor together with the amount of each donation received.
  • Charities may be subject to tax penalties for error or mistake under Schedule 24 FA 2007

Since 12 March 2008, charities are able to add together small donations that they receive from multiple donors within certain limits.

The limits are:

  • Each individual donation within the aggregated amount must not be more than £30.
  • The aggregated amount on each line on the claim cannot exceed £1,000.

For Option 1, charities must follow HMRC’s detailed guidance in completing the online form.

For Option 2, each charity will need to work with its software supplier to ensure that the correct details are returned from its database.

For Option 3, the entries on the repayment schedule must be suitably descriptive in order to enable the charity or CASC to find the relevant Gift Aid declaration and audit trail information that support the amounts listed on the schedule.

The adding together of small donations cannot be applied to:

  • Donations larger than £30.
  • Collections where there are no Gift Aid declarations unless a tax refund is claimed under the Gift Aid Small Donations scheme (GASDS), see GASDS tab.
  • Donations associated with admissions to charity visitor attractions
  • The arrangements for sponsored events (above).

Audit by HMRC

HMRC selects charities and CASCs for audit using a risk-based and random selection. The charity's trustees are responsible for ensuring that claims made under Gift Aid are accurate and that sufficient records are retained for audit purposes.

See HMRC: Charity audits


While reviewing some of its guidance back in 2012 HMRC identified an error. Its guidance stated that the four-year time limit for making claims under Gift Aid also applied to the retention of records. This was incorrect. Records should be kept for at least six years.

HMRC realise that some charities may have relied on the incorrect guidance, and may as a consequence have destroyed records which would now be more than four years old. If this has been the case, HMRC will not penalise those charities.

For example:

HMRC inspects a charity in 2018/19. HMRC will expect it to have retained records for the previous six years. This means that it should have retained records which date back to 2011/2012. If that charity had relied on HMRC's previous guidance it may have only retained records from 2011/2012.




01/11/18: Budget 2018 announcements

19/07/18 Draft legislation Finance Bill 2019

13/12/17 Results of Consutlation added

07/02/17 Further details added on Gift Aid and intermediaries.

18/01/17 Updated for GASDS reforms receiving Royal Assent

04/01/16 Updated to include publication of SI on intermediaries and refresh links

17/11/2016 add 14/11/16 commencement date to allow intermediaries to give gift aid donations on behalf of individuals. 

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