Charity tax minister calls on big charities to speak out about Gift Aid

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The charity tax minister has called on large charities to help raise awareness of the importance of Gift Aid by declaring how much they get from the relief.

Robert Jenrick, exchequer secretary to the Treasury with responsibility for charity tax, was speaking to Civil Society News following the launch of an awareness-raising campaign to encourage better understanding among charities and the public.

Yesterday HMRC published a report revealing that charities are losing out on around £600m in unclaimed Gift Aid, and Jenrick said he wants to “close the gap”.

Jenrick said that as part of the campaign the Treasury has written to 50,000 charities. He is also met with charity representatives yesterday to understand the barriers.

He said: “Almost 30 years after it was created, Gift Aid making a huge contribution and in 2016 £1.3bn provided to charities large and small.”

But he added that “£600m is not being claimed” which means there is “more to be done”.

Jenrick said the research showed that the public has a relatively “high awareness in general terms” and that they support the concept, but that they struggle with the detail.

“We have tried to make the system as simple as possible,” he said, but that “some smaller charities may perceive Gift Aid to be more complicated than it actually is,” and that some people are “put off by the word tax”.

‘Significant campaign’

He described the government’s latest move as a “significant campaign” to raise awareness and encourage more charities to claim Gift Aid and called on larger charities to lead the way.

“For larger charities something to there’s something to be done in explaining how important Gift Aid is to them,” he said and that he would “encourage Britain’s largest charities to voluntarily disclose how much they receive in the their annual report” as way of highlighting the impact it has.

There are no planned changes to how Gift Aid functions, but he said he would “listen to the charitable sector” and said he was “meeting with range of different charitable organisations later to understand the barriers”.

CFG ‘Gift Aid Awareness Day’

The Charity Finance Group has announced that the first ‘Gift Aid Awareness Day’ will take place on 4 October 2018. The umbrella body will also commission research about how best to explain Gift Aid to the public and produce material charities can use to help with event.

CFG said the aim is to encourage charities to educate staff and volunteers on Gift Aid so that they can educate their family and friends.

Speaking at the launch today, Caron Bradshaw, chief executive of CFG, said: “Gift Aid is vital to the charity sector and supports the work of tens of thousands of organisations. Without it, our sector would reach fewer people and deliver less impact.

“CFG wants to give practical support to charities so that we can boost the amount of Gift Aid claimed. At a time when charities are struggling to meet demand, every penny counts.”

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