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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Charities lose more than half a billion pounds as donors fail to claim Gift Aid


Huge sum is going wanting as charities see demand for services soar

Research shows only around half of donors said they claimed Gift Aid when they gave money to charity last year. 

Although the number of donors using Gift Aid has risen slightly over the past few years, it is still underused by many who pay income tax, according to the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

It means organisations currently miss out on as much as £560 million in Gift Aid every year.

The scheme means registered charities can reclaim income tax on a donation made by a UK taxpayer, effectively increasing the amount of the donation.

For a basic-rate taxpayer, 25% is added to the value of any gift made using Gift Aid.

A £10 donation will effectively be worth £12.50 to the charity but only if the donation is declared.

More than 12 million people who are self-employed or earn over £100,000 are due to complete a Self-Assessment tax return before the deadline approaches on 31 January 2024. They are being encouraged to claim Gift Aid relief on their donations in their return.

Mark Greer, managing director for giving & impact services at Charities Aid Foundation, said: “Charities miss out on millions every year from generous donors who forget to tick the Gift Aid box.

“With the cost of living causing many to cut back, there are some relatively simple ways to make sure the charities you care about are getting the most from your donation. If you haven’t already, make a Gift Aid declaration to the charity.

“If you complete a self assessment and are a higher rate taxpayer, you may also be entitled to personal tax relief and you can also check whether you can claim for donations in previous years.”

It comes as charities are meeting high demand for their services while donations are falling, and their costs are significantly higher.

CAF’s research shows 15% of people say they plan to cut back on charitable donations over the next six months to help them manage their bills, while CAF’s Charity Resilience Index revealed that less than a third (30%) of charities feel very confident in the security of their funding.  



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Gareth Morgan
3 months ago

The headline and several paras of this article are somewhat confused, because in most cases it is not up to the donor to "claim gift aid" on a donation.

Rather, it is a matter for the CHARITY to invite the donor to make a gift aid declaration (which can be done in all sorts of ways - often a tick box on a form or website, or even a verbal statement) is sufficient. The CHARITY then makes the claim to HMRC and the donor's basic rate tax is repaid direct to the charity.

The donor only needs to make a personal claim if he/she pays tax at a rate above basic rate, and wishes to claim the difference: in that case the claim is normally made on the donor's self-assessment tax return (or a donor paying higher rates of tax who does not normally complete a tax return can contact HMRC and ask for their tax code to be adjusted to reflect the extra relief).

It is worth noting that in Scotland anyone earning more than £25,689 in 2023/24 will be generally paying income tax at the 21% intermediate rate - slightly more than the 20% basic rate - and so may wish to make a claim on their tax return for the difference (but unless huge amounts of charitable donations have been made, the 1% difference may not be worth the effort of claiming).

But the key issue is that, barring the issues of donors wishing to claim for extra relief due to higher rates, it is up to the charity to offer donors the chance to make a gift aid declaration, and, where gift aid donations are received, it is up to the charity (not the donor) to make the claim to HMRC.