This may sound obvious, but an extraordinary £560m goes unclaimed by the charity sector each year.
Don’t become part of that because you are put off by the admin – I’ve had people admit to having months’ (occasionally years’) worth of Gift Aid paperwork waiting to be sorted before they can do a claim (and then telling me how much better they felt once they’d done it!). Like anything, the longer you leave it, the more there is to do.
So – keep on top of it and make your claims regularly, make it part of your routines and don’t let it get out of control.
Talk to other museums – find out how they run their systems
As I’ve said, the GOV.UK information is really useful – it clearly sets out the principles and gives a few examples, but for practical advice nothing beats hands on experience.
Every organisation manages their Gift Aid records slightly differently, depending on their size, or the characters of the people involved, and at training sessions the best bits are often where people are discussing what they actually do, what they file, where they file it, how often they make claims.
If you are unsure about anything – why not contact another AIM member that seems similar to your organisation, ask them how they manage it. I’m sure you’d all be happy to share your experience!
Listen to the pedants – about “Gift Aid Admissions” rules if nothing else
As you know – entry fees are NOT a gift, but if visitors make a voluntary donation that allows them to view your property and you comply with the Gift Aid Admissions rules outlined below, this donation can qualify for Gift Aid.
The distinction between entry fees and voluntary donations allowing people to view property is fairly subtle, and you need use the right language (hence the pedantry) as it is easy to fall foul of the rules which have been precisely drawn up and require faithful compliance! Careful reading of the guidance helps http://bit.ly/giftaidadmission.
Gift Aid admission – donations qualify when they:
are 10% or more than the normal admission fee, or
allow admission for at least 12 months
If in doubt, ask HMRC Charity Helpline 0300 123 1073
The Gift Aid team love the fact that they give money out.
Ignore the reputation of other parts of HMRC – the Charities Helpline have always answered me promptly and been really knowledgeable and helpful.
They want you to get it right, so call them before you launch if you are worried about whether the way you want to organise your membership scheme or entry set up will qualify for Gift Aid.
Don’t forget the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) – but keep the money separate
You are probably aware of the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) – and it’s great because you can claim a top up of 25% on those small (£20 or less – going up to £30 in April 2019) donations in boxes where visitors haven’t filled in a Gift Aid envelope.
A small client of mine hadn’t claimed GASDS because they thought their collections weren’t eligible – luckily, they had the right records and got over £3,000 in GASDS from the last 2 years, so it’s worth looking at.
You have to count and record the money separately, and you have to claim Gift Aid to be eligible to claim GASDS, there is an upper limit on what you can claim of £2,000pa (or 10x your Gift Aid claim) and you have to keep on top of the paperwork just like Gift Aid. Check out the rules here https://www.gov.uk/claim-gift-aid/small-donations-scheme
About Rachel Cooper and Welbeck Accountancy Services for the Third Sector
With the third sector coming under increasing scrutiny from both the public and a complicated range of stakeholders, rigorous management of finances is more important than ever.
As a result, third sector organisations – of all sizes – are finding the management of these tasks labour-intensive and demanding; absorbing resources that could be better spent on their core mission.
So I set up Welbeck to help alleviate this problem, and to provide cost-effective financial expertise for organisations as and when they needed it.
I offer the experience and insight of an experienced Finance Director but on cost-effective terms tailored to clients’ needs, allowing those they work with to retain their focus on what inspired them to join the third sector in the first place.