Gift Aid Declarations
To claim Gift Aid, the congregation will need a Gift Aid declaration from the donor. A declaration can be made in writing, including by text message, verbally or online. Whichever format is used, the following information must be included for the Gift Aid claim to be valid:
- The name of the congregation (the charity)
- The donor's full name
- The donor's home address including postcode
- Whether the declaration covers past, present or future donations or just a single donation
- A statement that the donor wants Gift Aid to apply (this could be a tick box on a written or online declaration)
- An explanation that the donor needs to pay the same amount or more of UK Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax in the tax year and that the donor is responsible to pay any difference.
A declaration can cover a single one-off donation, in which case the date and the amount of the donation is usually included on the form, or can apply to all future donations made by the donor. This is called an ‘enduring declaration' and is clearly the best option for regular givers to our congregations. A declaration can also give permission to claim on donations made by the donor in the previous four years.
If a verbal declaration can be recorded that is all that is necessary. However, if not then the declaration won't be valid until the donor is sent a written record of all the details provided or confirmed by them. This must include the statutory information that is required on a written declaration as well as an explanation of their entitlement to cancel the declaration within 30 days, the date on which the donor gave the verbal declaration and the date on which the congregation sent the written record to the donor.
Married couples, couples in a civil partnership or people living at the same address can make declarations on the same form providing they are all tax payers. Each donor must, however, be listed separately on the congregation's claim to HMRC.
Technically, HMRC does not require Gift Aid declarations to be signed or dated by the donor, but it is a good idea to include these for the purposes of a complete audit trail.
A downloadable information leaflet for donors containing a declaration form is available, along with an easy print declaration form. These contain HMRC recommended wording (which came into effect in April 2016) and an appropriate privacy notice. Previously completed declarations containing the out-of-date wording do not require to be renewed, but any new declarations should be in line with the current recommended wording.
If a donor changes their name or address, they do not need to complete a new declaration but a note of the updated details must be kept along with the original declaration. Likewise, if a congregation changes its name, for example after a union, there is no need for all existing declarations to be renewed if it can be shown beyond doubt that the name on the existing declarations is a name previously used by the congregation.