Gift Aid made simple. Make the most of Gift Aid for your local Scout Group or your donations to UK Scouts.
Gift Aid is a tax relief set up by the Government to enable charities to claim back 25p for every eligible £1 donation that is made to your charity.
Every Group, District and County/Area/Scottish Region and The Scouts HQ itself is a charity and so they’re able to claim 25% on eligible donations made to them by UK taxpayers. This includes any subscription fees you receive from parents or carers.
With thanks to Greater Manchester North County for their support in creating this guide.
How do I claim Gift Aid for my Group, District or County/Area/Scottish Region?
Anyone who donates to your charity, including parents and carers, should first complete the Gift Aid declaration form and return this to your charity in preparation for you to make a Gift Aid claim to the HMRC.
You can use the forms below to capture the Gift Aid declaration. Charities must keep these declarations as evidence – hard copies and electronic/scanned declarations are valid.
Note: Please remember to fill in the highlighted sections of the Local Group form before sending it to donors.
If you choose to create your own Gift Aid declaration form, or amend an existing form. Forms must capture:
- donor’s full name (at least their initial and last name)
- donor’s home address (at least their house number/name and postcode)
- name of your charity (i.e. your local Scout Group’s name)
- date of declaration
Using Online Scout Manager (OSM) to collect declarations
If your charity uses Online Scout Manager (OSM), you can also ask donors to make a Gift Aid declaration online.
1. Log in to OSM and select ‘Section Admin’ followed by ‘Gift Aid’.
2. Select all young people using the tick boxes and click ‘Ask parents to complete the declaration online’ in the top right-hand corner. This sends and online Gift Aid declaration form to all of your parents or carers selected.
3. Parents complete and return the declaration via OSM. This information can then be used a later date to prepopulate a Gift Aid claim form.
Before making your Gift Aid claim, there are a few tasks you must complete to set up and to register your charity on Charities Online. Give yourself plenty of time to get set up.
- Get a Gift Aid registration number: Scout Groups, Districts, Counties/Areas and Scottish Regions generally are ‘Excepted Charities’ and don’t need a charity number for Charities Online, but you will need a unique Gift Aid registration number.
- Every charity must register for the Government portal ‘Charities online’. Information on how to register and which information you need to register your charity can be found on the HMRC website.
- Gather all of the information you need to make a claim:
- Gift Aid declaration forms made for subscription fees or other donations
- The amount of money paid by the donations
- Sponsorship forms that include Gift Aid decelerations
Using Online Scout Manager (OSM) to gather your information
If you used OSM to collect your declarations you can gather your information by selecting ‘Section Admin’ and then ‘Gift Aid’. From here, you can click the download button in the top right corner. The prepopulated spreadsheet has all the information you need to submit a claim to HMRC.
You can claim tax back using either Gift Aid or Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS).
For Scout charities, a key difference between the two schemes is that you should claim subscription fees through Gift Aid and not GASDS. GASDS may be used for donations received through bucket collections or community fundraising events you might run.
What can we claim Gift Aid on?
You can claim Gift Aid on donations from individual UK taxpayers that have given a donation – this doesn’t include payment for goods and services. Here are some examples below of what is eligible.
Examples and special rules:
- Bag packs and donation buckets – through the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS).
- Sponsored challenges – fundraising platforms normally process this for you. All sponsorship payments are eligible for Gift Aid if the participants pay the cost of flights and accommodation etc. themselves.
- Young person’s membership fees paid by parents/guardians – eligible for Gift Aid, but not for the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS).
- Adult subscription fees to a Scout Group, District, County and Headquarters can be covered by Gift Aid. Money from parents to cover the general running of the Group can also be included.
- Volunteer expenses – donated back to your Scout Group.
- Charity auctions – please note that when the retail value of an item in a charity auction exceeds the benefit limits, you can’t claim Gift Aid.
What can't we claim Gift Aid on?
You can claim Gift Aid on donations from individual UK taxpayers who have given a donation – this doesn’t include payment for goods and services. Here are some examples below of what isn’t eligible.
Examples and special rules:
- Church collections – you can’t claim on donations collected in your church that are for another charity unless the church chooses to set up a fund to raise money for a charity. These donations then become part of the church’s income and they collect the Gift Aid due.
- Selling donated goods on behalf of individuals – this is exclusive to charity shops that operate a retail Gift Aid scheme to sell goods on behalf of donors.
- Charity events like a concert or dinner do not qualify for Gift Aid even if the ticket price is higher than the cost of the event. The money made is profit, not a donation.
- Camps and Jamboree fees – not eligible for Gift Aid because the benefit to the donor is regarded as too high to qualify.
- Donations from limited companies – not eligible because donations must come from individual UK taxpayers to qualify for Gift Aid.
- Payroll Giving – not eligible for Gift Aid because this is taken from the donor’s salary before Income Tax.
- Donations through charity cards or vouchers aren’t eligible, for example Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) vouchers.
- You can’t claim Gift Aid on donations received before you were recognised as a charity.
When should we use GASDS?
GASDS is designed for small charities and community fundraising events. If you’ve had any collection boxes, donations of £30 or less (with no Gift Aid Declaration) or bag-packs, check out the Small Donations Scheme. The GASDS claim uses a separate spreadsheet to submit the claim and can be submitted at the same time as your Gift Aid Claim.
You can claim 25% on cash donations of £30 or less and contactless card donations of £30 or less. From 6 April 2016, you can claim up to £2,000 in a tax year or £1,250 for earlier years.
Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) claims are possible if your charity or Scout Group is already claiming Gift Aid.
See HMRC guidelines on GASDS.
GASDS and community buildings
A community building is a building, or part of a building, which a charity uses to run charitable activities. Scout huts are a type of community building. If your Scout Group has fewer than two community buildings you can claim up to £8,000 of eligible small donations each tax year anywhere in the UK on the GASDS.
If your Scout Group has two or more community buildings you can claim either:
- A top-up payment on donations up to £8,000 collected in each community building
- A top-up payment on donations of up to £8,000 collected anywhere in the UK
Please read Chapter 8.4 of the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme for more information.
Follow the HMRC step-by-step guide to submitting your claim.
- Donors full name
- Donors address
- Donation date
- Donation amount
Using Online Scout Manager to download your spreadsheet
If your group uses OSM you can download a completed spreadsheet to submit to HMRC. To use this:
- Log on to OSM and select Section Admin, followed by Gift Aid.
- If your charity receives subscription fees and donations on OSM, download the ‘HMRC Spreadsheet’ from the top-right corner.
- If your charity doesn’t receive subscription fees and donations through OSM, you should choose ‘Record Payment’ and enter all donations here, before downloading the HMRC spreadsheet.
For claims over £1,000, you’ll need a database of donations. If you haven’t got software, HMRC has put together some recommended suppliers.
Follow the HMRC step-by-step guide to submitting your claim.
Log onto your Charities Online via Government Gateway and select the box ‘Charities: Claim tax back on things like Gift Aid donations’.
From here, select ‘Make a charity repayment claim’ and work through the sections of the claim form, including uploading your spreadsheet, until the claim is complete.
When you submit a claim, you’ll get an on-screen confirmation with the date and time it was sent. You’ll also see a reference number. Make a note of it. You can use it if you need to contact HMRC about the claim, but it’s not a confirmation of payment.
Claims made via Charities Online are normally paid within 20 working days of HMRC receiving the claim. HMRC will send you a written confirmation that a payment has made into your bank account.
Top Tips and Further Information
No. To apply for Gift Aid you need to be recognised as a charity by HMRC. Scout Groups are given an ‘exception’ and not required to register with the Charity Commission unless:
- their income is more than £100,000
- or, they have permanent endowment
- or, they own land or buildings.
A Scout or Guide charity that has permanent endowment or owns a building must register if its income is more than £5,000.
‘Excepted’ Scout Groups: you can’t use or cite the District, County or The Scout Association’s charity numbers as your own. HMRC will provide you with a unique Gift Aid registration number which you can use for fundraising platforms too.
‘Non-excepted’ Scout Groups: If your Scout Group isn’t classed as ‘excepted’, you’ll need to register with HMRC as a charity to claim Gift Aid.
Note: In Scotland, Scout Groups and Districts can’t claim Gift Aid unless registered as a separate charity with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.
A person must pay an amount of Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax for each tax year that’s equal or more than the amount of tax that all the charities you donate to will reclaim on your donations for that year.
VAT and Council Tax, tax on savings, pension plan or investment income don’t qualify.
Individuals pay different amounts of tax to the government depending on their income. This is called Income Tax Rate and Bands. This effects the Gift Aid you may or may not be eligible for, and the tax benefits you could receive.
Families on lower incomes, such as those that receive free school meals or with an income below £12,500 per year, may not be eligible for Gift Aid.
If you’re a Higher Rate taxpayer with income above £50,001 per year, you can claim the difference back from HMRC.
For example: You donate £100 to charity - they claim Gift Aid to make your donation £125. You pay 40% tax so you can personally claim back £25.00 (£125 x 20%).
You can claim the difference either:
Charities can claim Gift Aid on a single donation, donations made in the future and any donations made in the past four years. It’s valid until the donor is no longer a UK taxpayer. You must make sure that the donor’s information is accurate at the time your charity makes a Gift Aid claim, eg it’s useful to check if your donors have a new address.
It’s good practice to send new Gift Aid forms to your supporters to update your database and maximise your Gift Aid claim.
It’s important that these are kept in a secure location – don’t throw them away. It’s helpful to have an electronic or scanned copy in case something happens to the original or it gets lost. You’ll need access to the Gift Aid declaration forms in case your Scout Group requires an audit.
There are certain guidelines you need to follow. The Gift Aid section should be in its own box. This text has been approved for you to use in sponsorship and membership fee forms. Insert the appropriate details where you see the **:
Boost your donation by 25p of Gift Aid for every £1 you donate. Gift Aid is reclaimed by the *Scout Group* from the tax you pay for the current tax year. Your address is needed to identify you as the current UK taxpayer. These details are kept for six financial years for any additional queries regarding your Gift Aid declaration. In order to Gift Aid your donation you must tick the box below:
*Insert tick box* I am a UK taxpayer and understand that if I pay less Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax in the current tax year than the amount of Gift Aid claimed on all my donations, it is my responsibility to pay the difference. I want to Gift Aid on my donation and any donations I make in the future, or have made in the past four years to *Scout Group*.
Date: __ / __ / __ Full name ________________________________________
Online Scout Manager (OSM) helps you to complete your Gift Aid claim more quickly. OSM captures the donor declaration and the details of a donation, at the point that a parent pays their subs through the tool. This then creates a prepopulated spreadsheets for you, capturing the data you need to process your claim on one downloadable form. OSM also provides you with a function to prompt parents and carers to make their donor declaration, helping you to make sure you can claim on every eligible donation.
For further support or information about Gift Aid, please contact the HMRC Charities Helpline on 0300 123 1073 (open from 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday).