Gift Aid donor benefits - a new beginning or the beginning of the end?

The donor benefit rules affect fundraising activities carried out by many charities - particularly admissions charities and those with membership or patrons’ schemes. The publication of a call for evidence now gives charities an important opportunity to contribute to the government’s review and simplification of the Gift Aid donor benefit rules.

It seems a long time since the review of the donor benefit rules for claiming Gift Aid was originally announced in Budget 2014 and then extended to include the rules on membership and entrance fees. While a lot of work has been going on behind the scenes, albeit interrupted by the General Election, the publication of a Call for Evidence on 16 July at last gives charities an opportunity to contribute to the process.

The aim of the Call for Evidence is to help the government see how well charities understand and apply the current rules. It also aims to identify any barriers and problems they present to charities. As the results will be used to help formulate detailed proposals for reform that will be formally consulted on later in the year, it is important that you contribute to the debate.

Given that many of the donor benefit rules are based on concessions and practice leaving things as they are is not an option. Legally all current concessions now have to be either incorporated into statute or abandoned. It is, therefore, essential that charities contribute to the debate.

Evidence is being sought on:

  • how well the current rules are understood;
  • the type of benefits offered and why;
  • membership benefits;
  • the use of the split payment, averaging, literature and lifetime benefit valuation concessions; and
  • The use of the admission disregard rules.

The Call for Evidence, which closes on 9 October, can be accessed here