Charities, technology companies and academics are collaborating on a scheme to automate Gift Aid payments, in a bid to unlock millions of pounds in unclaimed tax relief.
The coalition, led by the Charity Tax Group, said it is designing a digital system for making Gift Aid payments, which will remove the current “clunky administrative processes” which act as a barrier to some giving.
Charities involved in the Future of Gift Aid project include Cancer Research UK, Sue Ryder and the Children’s Society, working alongside academics at leading universities and companies like Streeva and JustGiving.
The project is still looking for a bank to join the work.
The proposed new system would not involve any paperwork, and would use existing data on a donor’s tax status to automatically assess their Gift Aid declaration, according to a statement.
It would build on the technology platform Swiftaid, developed by Streeva, which already automates some Gift Aid donations when charities and donors have registered to use the system.
The group says that extending this automated system would allow charities to access some of the £560m in unclaimed Gift Aid each year, as well as reducing the risk of overclaiming.
Tech 'in a time of crisis'
Keren Caird, the business development Gift Aid manager at Sue Ryder, said: “I am delighted to be part of this innovative & creative workstream, bringing together Gift Aid and technology experts, to develop Gift Aid for the future.”
Richard Bray, the vice-chairman of CTG, said: “The power of people coming together sharing individual expertise is something quite incredible.”
Beth Michael, who co-founded Streeva, said: “In this time of crisis, the charity sector needs our help more than ever.
“I strongly believe that with industry-wide support and expertise, along with the innovative enabling technology Streeva can bring, this project will make a huge difference to the sector, bringing real hope in these challenging times.”
A CTG spokesperson told Civil Society News that the coalition met today to discuss the project.
They said that the plans had resulted in part from conversations with HMRC officials, who backed the idea of testing how well digital tax systems could be linked with Gift Aid in the future.
Yesterday was Gift Aid Awareness Day, which saw the Charity Finance Group release a new guide to tax relief and pilot an advice line for some charities.
Gift Aid is worth around £1.3bn to UK charities every year.