Top tips for charities claiming tax reliefs

This is the time of the year when charities all over the country are considering their tax claims. Charitable tax reliefs are a very importance source of support for the sector. In total tax reliefs for charities are estimated to be worth £3.3bn, according to HMRC.

One of the most widely used reliefs is Gift Aid – where charities get back the basic rate tax that donors have paid on the value of their donation. Gift Aid is worth over £1bn to the sector and last year the government set up Charities Online with the aim of making it easier for charities to claim Gift Aid and Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme.

Last year we surveyed charities about the new system and we have been working with HMRC to make it as easy as possible for organisations to use but as with any new system, some organisations have found adjusting difficult. HMRC has now compiled a helpful “top tips” sheet which highlights some of the most frequent mistakes that charities make when claiming online and suggests how they can be avoided.

While this sheet should be read with the caveat that just following it doesn’t guarantee that your claim will be paid, it is a useful resource for anyone making claims through the system (particularly if you are not a regular Charities Online user!).

Rooting out simple errors like these will not only ease the workload of the staff of HMRC in Bootle (thank you!), but could also help to increase the speed that charities receive their tax repayments.

So download the tips sheet (pdf) and let us know whether you think it is helpful. Also let us know if there are any other issues that you encounter with Charities Online that aren’t covered in the sheet by leaving a comment below and we’ll try to answer them.

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Andrew was NCVO’s senior policy officer. He covered issues around funding, social investment, tax and the impact of the economy on the voluntary sector. Andrew has left NCVO, but his posts are kept here for reference purposes.

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