Gift Aid

GIFT AID

In 2012, I took over the immaculately maintained handwritten Kirk Gift Aid records from my predecessor, David
Fotheringham. After a short period of operation, it became evident that, with changes that HMRC were looking to
introduce in regard to the information that they would require from the Kirk to substantiate our periodic claims for tax
refunds, there would have to be a radical change to how our records were maintained. It was for this reason that, in 2013, the decision was taken to computerise our Gift Aid records and to use well known software provided by Data
Developments Ltd, to both record our income and to enable us to make streamlined electronic claims for tax refund to HMRC. This arrangement has, to date, worked well, with the added benefit of refunds being received usually within a 3-business day working period, versus up to 6 weeks under the previous manual recording system.

By way of background information, the modern Gift Aid scheme, which was introduced in 2000, is a government
scheme which allows the Kirk, as a registered charity, to reclaim the tax you have already pain on the money that you
give as your offering. In UK terms, it is worth over £1bn to charities every year. In the case of Cramond, it is currently
worth circa £40,000 per annum, and is a valuable contributor to the overall financial well-being of the Kirk. Not only does Gift Aid epitomise the principle that money given for public benefit should not be taxed, but it is also crucial in creating a positive environment for the encouragement of charitable giving.

Who is eligible to give through Gift Aid? Anyone who pays UK Income Tax or Capital Gains tax, the amount of which is annually equal to or more than the total amount of tax reclaimed by all the charities to which they contribute in each tax year.

The benefit to the Kirk? If you are a UK Income Tax payer, once you have signed a Declaration in favour of the Kirk, the Kirk is then able to claim tax back from HMRC at the current rate of 25% of each member’s contribution. 

What is required from you? You are simply required to complete a Gift Aid Declaration for inputting to the Kirk’s
record system, with the Declaration remaining in force until further notice. If you become a non-tax payer, the authority
can be cancelled by you simply giving notice in writing to this effect to the Gift Aid Treasurer. 

What is covered? Standing Order donations – the scheme allows you to make regular contributions, by standing order, or cheque payment, on a monthly/quarterly/half-yearly or annual basis–whichever best suits you. Standing order is most helpful to the Kirk since it gives a predictable income with the least administration. The amount of your contribution, whilst fixed at the outset, can be amended by you at any time. Freewill Offering Scheme—contributions under the FWO scheme, made by weekly envelope lodgement, are also eligible for inclusion in the Gift Aid scheme.

GASDS (Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme mainly via Open Plate offerings) The Kirk also benefits from this scheme, which allows us to claim a payment from HMRC based upon weekly cash offerings made in the Open Plate. The annual limit for us to claim upon is £8,000 gross, which provides us with a £2,000 payment from HMRC once we reach
the annual limit. 

Another potential option to consider, for those members currently in employment, is the Payroll Giving Scheme,
otherwise known as Give as You Earn, operated by many employers, whereby charitable donations are deducted at
source from salary, before Income Tax is calculated and applied. Payroll Giving is a flexible scheme which allows
anyone who pays UK income tax to give regularly and on a tax free basis to the charities and good causes of their choice, including the Kirk.

Future Developments We live in an age of fast moving developments in the functionality, scope and use of Social
Media. Our software provider, Data Developments Ltd along with other providers, are actively looking to develop their
current versions of software to incorporate additional functions, some of which are more convenient and userfriendly
to the user, as a means of contributing towards charitable causes, of which Cramond Kirk is but one. The Kirk’s website receives a large volume of “hits” and provides a wealth of information about the Kirk and related activity. We
are in the process of activating a “justextgiving” facility on the website, which will enable members and non-members to contribute to the Kirk at any time and from anywhere. We are currently in the early stages of investigating the feasibility, practicality and acceptability of cashless donations via debit/credit card reader, contactless, mobile phone and PayPal etc. The development of these payment options has the scope to offer a more flexible way for members, non-members and visitors to support the Kirk’s activities. At present, we have no plans to make use of the Direct Debit facility, which is not be confused with the Standing Order method pf payment that we have operated with for some time, but this, and other options, will remain under constant review going forward. 

I should also add that all personal details are held under the Data Protection Act requirements, with confidentiality
maintained at all times. 

In this short article, I have tried to give an outline of how the Gift Aid scheme operates, its flexibility and ease of operation for donors and its huge importance to the Kirk in support of ongoing key activities. Once a Declaration has been signed, it remains in force until further notice, without any additional assistance required from the granter. As Gift Aid Treasurer I am perfectly happy to discuss with you any aspects of the scheme that you may wish to have clarified, both to possibly assist you in coming to a decision to sign up to the Scheme and to also discuss any question that existing donors may have. 

Thank you.

Crichton Mouat
(crichtonmouat@btinternet.com)


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