A temporary boost to Gift Aid during the covid-19 emergency

For our latest covid-19 guidance for charities, please visit our coronavirus pages on NCVO Knowhow.

Today NCVO has joined a coalition of sector bodies calling on the government to temporarily boost the level of Gift Aid claimed on donations.

The voluntary sector is potentially facing the biggest financial crisis since World War II. As the full-scale of the economic impact of covid-19 hits home, headlines that many charities are facing substantial drops in income and making large scale redundancies are becoming commonplace.

New research from IoF, CFG, and NCVO, shows that voluntary organisations are facing a two-fold crisis. They are seeing their income fall sharply whilst demand for their services has increased significantly.

Based on annual budget forecasts, those surveyed are planning for a 24% drop in total income over the next year, while 24% have reported a significant increase in demand for their services.

Nearly every area of fundraising has been impacted, affecting the ability of voluntary organisations to deliver services at a time when beneficiaries need help most.

The chancellor’s £750m support package for charities and the various business support measures that the sector is eligible to claim have helped. But this will not be enough to prevent many organisations from closing their doors or mothballing services.

To help address the shortfall in funding, we’ve been exploring various ways government can unlock support for communities during covid-19 and the recovery efforts that’ll follow. One of these is a temporary change to the Gift Aid regime. If implemented,  this will provide a much-needed boost to fundraising income with minimal burden placed on the taxpayer.

Gift Aid Emergency Relief Package explained

Our proposal for a Gift Aid Emergency Relief package has two components:

1. Gift Aid Emergency Relief

As it currently stands, Gift Aid increases the value of a donation by 25%. Under our Gift Aid Emergency Relief proposal, this would be temporarily increased to 33% for two years. For example, this means a charity would be able to claim £33.33 of Gift Aid on a donation of £100 making the gross value of the gift £133.33.

Gift Aid claimed by charities was worth £1.35bn in 2018-19. We’ve calculated that our proposal could secure an additional £450m of support for communities during the covid-19 emergency and recovery phase. This is broadly similar to the amount of Gift Aid that has previously gone unclaimed each year.

2. Reforming the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme

We’re also proposing the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) be amended to ensure that all small charities can access the scheme. This is including community-led organisations, which are typically smaller and underfunded and less likely to make use of Gift Aid.

To do this, we’re calling for the removal of the ‘matching rule’, so the amount of GASDS top-up smaller charities can claim doesn’t depend on the amount of Gift Aid they’ve claimed in that tax year.

We’re also asking the government to increase the eligible donations that can be claimed under GASDS from £8k to £10k, using the same temporary rate for GASDS as proposed for Gift Aid Emergency Relief above.

As well as being quick and easy to implement, this package also represents a way for government to leverage additional giving across the UK as communities start to face the significant economic hurdles that the recovery phase of covid-19 will bring.

How you can get involved

You can pledge your support for the campaign by contacting CAF direct. In the coming days the Never More Needed website will be providing more information on the ways your organisation can get involved. You can also follow #GiftAidRelief or me on Twitter for updates.


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Paul joined NCVO over seven years ago after working for a leading public affairs agency. Since then he’s led our policy work on a variety of issues, including welfare-to-work reforms, volunteering, the Compact, public service commissioning and procurement regulations. He now leads our work on funding and finance with a particular focus on charity tax relief and safeguarding EU funding post-Brexit.

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