GIFT AID FOR CASH DONATIONS AFTER REOPENING
The Churches’ Legislation Advisory Service (CLAS) wrote as follows (15 May 2020):
<<Many CLAS members contacted us expressing concerns at financial pressures facing churches, as traditional income streams from lettings and face-to-face fundraising have dried up due to COVID-19.
In particular, concerns were raised about the operation of the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme during the coronavirus crisis, given that many eligible cash donations could be lost. Donors that would ordinarily make small donations each week were asking if they could keep aside the individual donations that they would normally give and make them separately once the crisis is over, above the standard £30 limit.
In a letter to HMRC, CLAS called for temporary flexibility in the operation of the GASDS scheme, by accepting multiple cash donations of £30 or under that have been saved up during the crisis.
HMRC officials have now responded: “In respect of GASDS, guidance on the eligibility for donations for inclusion in this scheme is clear in stating that claims can only be made on cash donations of £30 or less; and contactless card donations of £30 or less collected on or after 6 April 2019. The decision over what constitutes an eligible donation is one for the church/charity to make for themselves, rather than for HMRC, but the conditions for something to be considered a ‘small donation’ are clearly set out in legislation. Where it is the case, for example, of separate donations being given in a single envelope, then if the church/charity official is happy these are clearly separate ‘small donations’ (and clearly stated as such) then they will be eligible for GASDS, as is the case where separate envelopes are used”.
HMRC appear to be happy for church treasurers to assess whether these are a series of separate donations and, if so, make a claim accordingly. This is a welcome development. Churches will want to think about any practical steps they can introduce and how to communicate this to regular givers. Please feel free to share this update within your networks.>>