Some charities will be able to retain Gift Aid on payments that have been received for events cancelled due to the coronavirus, the government has confirmed.
The Charity Tax Group (CTG) had suggested this reform to officials last month, as one of several ways that tax relief could help charities amid the outbreak.
Under the proposal, if an individual chooses not to claim a refund after paying to attend a charity event which was subsequently cancelled, the value of that refund would be treated as a donation and would therefore be eligible for Gift Aid. The CTG suggested this should be an exceptional arrangement, applicable only for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.
Government minister Lord Agnew, responding to questions in the House of Lords earlier this week, confirmed that this change would be made for "theatres and other cultural venues recognised as charities".
He said: "These charities can claim Gift Aid on the value of tickets for cancelled events if the patrons have agreed not to be refunded for the cost of the ticket and agree for the same amount to be treated as a donation.
"Additionally, the charity will also need to make sure the patrons have made a Gift Aid declaration for their donations to qualify for Gift Aid, confirming that they have, or will have, paid enough tax to cover the amount the charity will claim on their donations."
John Hemming, chair of the Charity Tax Group, told Civil Society News: "CTG is liaising with HMRC and DCMS, as well as affected charities, to confirm the scope and mechanics of using Gift Aid in this way, as it should hopefully have a broader application to all charity events disrupted by Covid-19.
"Our hope is that the system will be as easy and frictionless as possible, with guidance issued quickly to ensure charities can benefit from this Gift Aid as soon as possible.”