When you must claim
Your deadline to claim Gift Aid depends on how your charity is set up.
You need to claim for a donation within 4 years of the end of the financial period you received it in. This is:
- the tax year (6 April to 5 April) if you’re a trust
- your accounting period if your charity is a community amateur sports club (CASC), a Charity Incorporated Organisation (CIO) or a limited company
You must claim on cash donations under the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme within 2 years of the end of the tax year that the donations were collected in.
You need to keep records of these donations for a further two years
How to claim
You can claim Gift Aid using Charities Online with:
For claims of over 1,000 donations you must use software.
To apply by post use form ChR1, which you can get from the charities helpline.
When you’ll get paid
You’ll get a Gift Aid payment by BACS within:
- 4 weeks if you claimed online
- 5 weeks if you claimed by post using form ChR1
All charities (whether registered with the Charity Commission or not) must prepare accounts and make them available on request. All charities must keep accounting records, and prepare annual accounts which must be made available to the public on request
Charities with a gross income of more than £25,000 in their financial year are required to have their accounts independently examined or audited
Keeping accounting records
These records – for example cash books, invoices, receipts, Gift Aid records etc must be retained for at least 6 years (or at least 3 years in the case of charitable companies); where Gift Aid payments are received records will need to be maintained for 6 years with details of any substantial donors and to identify ‘tainted charity donations’ in accordance with HMRC guidance
An independent examination is an external review of a charity’s accounts and is carried out by an independent person with the requisite ability and practical experience to carry out a competent examination
An examination involves a review of the accounting records kept by the charity, and a comparison of the accounts presented with those records. This means that all cash books, bank statements, invoices and receipts must also be made available for checking by the independent examiner
Our Spring Newsletter should have arrived with you by post – if it hasn’t please let us know by emailing us here, or download it here:
Newsletter Spring 2018
In this edition we cover HMRC Rates and Threshold Changes, Independent Examination of Accounts, Charity Governing Document, Claiming Tax Back on Donations, Gift Aid
When to apply to register your charity
Usually, you must register with the Charity Commission if your charity is based in England or Wales and has over £5,000 income per year. The commission will take action to secure compliance if it identifies a charity which isn’t registered but should be.
If your charity is a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) it must register whatever its income.
Charities that don’t have to register
Small unincorporated charities
If your charity is based in England and Wales and isn’t a CIO, you don’t have to apply to register it if its annual income is less than £5,000. But you can still apply to HM Revenue and Customs for recognition as a charity to get charity tax breaks and claim gift aid.
You can apply to the commission to register this sort of charity voluntarily, but the commission will only consider applications in exceptional circumstances. For example, if you can prove that your charity has been offered significant funds but has to provide a registered charity number before it can receive the funds.
More details can be found here