Gift aid proposals could be 'non-starters', warns Institute

Gift aid proposals could be 'non-starters', warns Institute

Gift aid proposals could be 'non-starters', warns Institute1

Fundraising | Celina Ribeiro | 16 Dec 2009

The Institute of Fundraising fears that gift aid reforms mooted in yesterday’s government report could be “complete non-starters” as chief executive Lindsay Boswell reiterates concerns there will be action no on gift aid before the general election.

HMRC and Treasury yesterday released the findings of research into gift aid reforms aimed at increasing the proportion of higher-rate taxpayers who claim the full rebate and redirect that money to charities.

The study looked at two options: one which would see higher-rate taxpayers identify themselves via a tick box when making a donation, with the additional rebate going to the charity; another which would introduce a composite rate for all gift aid donations, fixed at either 30p or 37p per pound.

Boswell said that while the research was “much overdue” and “shows what fundraisers have been saying is absolutely right, which is that higher-rate donors are not motivated by the tax break”, he expressed concern at the report’s focus on the potential cost to government of gift aid reforms.

“One of the things that has come out is that the researchers believe that all of the proposals would change the tax break from being a tax break to being a spending decision. Therefore, from the Institute’s viewpoint, that makes them complete non-starters. We’d be deeply concerned about anything that jeopardised gift aid and that jeopardised gift aid being considered and looked at in the same way as any other government spending decision,” he told Civil Society.

He reiterated the point made last week that the fact that this research was released a week after the Pre-Budget Report indicated that gift aid reform was not high on the government’s agenda in the lead-up to the election.

“That’s deeply, deeply disappointing.

“We’ve been trying to forcefully make the point that the sector needs the support now, and it doesn’t look at the present time that we’re going to get that support.”

The Institute will be talking to the Treasury next year, and Boswell said the sector will be well-placed to argue for changes to gift aid on the back of the research with any future government.

Mark Astarita
Director Fundraising
British Red Cross
17 Dec 2009

The British Red Cross very much welcomes this excellent report, which reinforces our long-held view that almost every donor would wish the higher rate tax rebate to go to charities. Fundraisers have known this to be true in their hearts for ages now we have the proof.

The British Red Cross could benefit from any change to mechanisms suggested but would encourage the higher composite option be adopted of 37p/pound, which could be worth an additional £4m per year to us alone. At a rough guess the top 100 charities could see an extra £50m per year at the stroke of a minister pen. We know at least £200m goes missing because people don't reclaim it. Just imagine what charities could do with that extra cash.

I now very much hope that ministers will respond rapidly to move towards a fairer scheme and sincerely hope that they will also consider the interests of all tax payers including the 80% of tax payers who don't get a tax break from giving.

I hazard a guess if standard rate tax payers were asked an overwhelming majority would support all tax benefits from giving going direct to charities and not donors, just as HR tax payers have said loud and clear in this research that they support that to.

The issue for super donors who do reclaim does not give me great cause for concern as I feel sure they will adjust their personal giving into their foundations and trusts which will also be massively increased by the tax break now finding its way into their personalised giving vehicles. There is no loss of influence and there is just as much to give.

I have alway been perplexed by the notion that the HR tax break is particularly worthwhile or exciting to HR donors given one has to spend £1 to get 25p back off a future tax bill when it could far better increase the charity income so that for every £2 given £1 extra is topped up by HMG or under the composite rate just over £1 for every £3 given. The problem with the break is it lacks the emotional connection with the joy of giving and makes it a purely economic transaction and as a consequence is terrible boring for most people.

With 65% of High Rate Tax payers not even claiming the relief and pretty much everyone backing the change the time for action has to be now.

Mark Astarita
Director Fundraising
British Red Cross


[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear


  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

Man admits stealing £300,000 from collections for Help for Heroes

29 Jul 2014

A man has admitted pocketing £300,000 donated by members of the public who believed it would go to Help...

Up to 144 jobs could go at Royal Voluntary Service as part of restructure

29 Jul 2014

Royal Voluntary Service is planning to make up to 144 redundancies in both its operations and support...

Children's charities call for an end to 'price-driven competition' in public service provision

28 Jul 2014

A coalition of 29 children’s charities and trade unions including Barnardo's and Action for Children...

Commission investigates charity over concerns it was used for private benefit

29 Jul 2014

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into grant-giver the Catalyst Trust over concerns...

PTA-UK: Big Society Network chief was confident of funding

28 Jul 2014

PTA-UK has revealed that it turned down an invitation from Big Society Network to be a partner in its...

Big Society Network chair’s company gave £64k to Conservative Party

28 Jul 2014

A company owned by the chair of Big Society Network donated services totalling more than £54,000 to the...

Online donations forms are too long and cost charities donations, finds report

28 Jul 2014

One third of leading charity websites require potential donors to complete more than 20 actions before...

Greenpeace video removed from YouTube following copyright claim

14 Jul 2014

A campaign video by Greenpeace against Lego’s relationship with Shell has been subject to a copyright...

Oxfam advert removed after appearing before extremist videos

10 Jul 2014

Oxfam has removed one of its adverts from YouTube after it was shown on channels showing content from...

Join the discussion

Twitter button