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Oxfam and CRUK launch gift aid forum

Oxfam and CRUK launch gift aid forum
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Oxfam and CRUK launch gift aid forum

Fundraising | Ian Allsop | 1 Jun 2007

Ian Allsop reports on a sector-wide gift aid initiative.

Cancer Research UK and Oxfam have launched a sector-wide initiative to share best practice on promoting, managing and claiming gift aid.
 
The inaugural event of the Gift Aid Best Practices Forum was held yesterday at the Treasury. The aim of the forum is to enable charities to learn from each other and to facilitate the sharing of best practice and innovation. Representatives from HMRC Charities also attended to offer advice and update on recent changes.
 
Naomi Ball, gift aid manager at Cancer Research UK, said: "The operation of gift aid can be complex and we hope that this forum will enable charities to maximise the gift aid benefits on the donations they receive. It will allow us to learn from each other and work with HMRC Charities in an open and consistent manner. It is right that those charities who have identified effective ways to put gift aid into practice share these lessons with others in the sector."

Sioned Jones, head of business support at Oxfam GB, added that working together and sharing expertise was a great step forward for the sector. "Ultimately we hope that it will lead to better protection and an increase to this income stream for charities."

Meanwhile, the government's consultation on measures to increase the take-up of the gift aid tax relief includes a focus on encouraging smaller organisations to increase their levels of gift aid income. It wants to find out what guidance and mechanisms such charities require to facilitate the process.

The Treasury-led consultation, launched last week, is also seeking opinions on whether gift aid encourages donors to give more and what the perceived barriers are among the public to gift aid. And it wants to explore issues around wealthy donors and their awareness of higher rate tax reliefs.

Other areas the consultation will be considering are gift aid on admission to charity property, and repayment claims, record keeping and the audit process.

The process includes an online survey and a series of events around the UK over the summer. The deadline for written responses is 30 September and the Treasury hopes to report on progress over the winter.

Chief secretary to the Treasury Stephen Timms said the consultation reaffirmed the Government's commitment to supporting and working in partnership with a vibrant third sector.

Minister for the third sector, Ed Miliband, added: "It is very important to get the views of the charitable sector about how we can strengthen gift aid and I hope that a diverse range of charities will take part in the consultation. Reforms over the past ten years have made gift aid easier, simpler and open to more donors. But CAF estimates that £700million more could be claimed through gift aid by charities with more tax-effective giving. I hope that this consultation will lead to practical changes that will make the system even better so that charities, both small and large, get the full benefit."

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