Late last year, JustGiving experienced a spike in Gift Aid rejections after a more stringent application of regulations by HMRC. As a result, JustGiving was asked to retrospectively remove Gift Aid claims on donations which referenced more than one person in the name or message boxes on JustGiving pages. Whilst HMRC assured us this was part of a sector-wide attempt to improve the way Gift Aid is applied, it particularly affected ‘social giving’, where individuals want to leave messages of support for fundraisers that include other close family members.
JustGiving has worked closely with HMRC for 15 years, ever since we pioneered the reclaim of Gift Aid on online donations. We have worked especially hard over the last few months to develop suitable solutions to the challenge of interpreting ‘family donations’, and shared with HMRC the very useful feedback we received from charities and users alike.
We are delighted to be able to confirm that within the last fortnight, as part of a series of ongoing changes, HMRC has agreed to a temporary lifting of this family type restriction. Until notified otherwise, JustGiving expects to be able to claim Gift Aid on donations with associated messages that contain no more than four names of linked family members. This should significantly reduce the number of future donations which have Gift Aid retrospectively removed. (Note: donations from parties other than the declared taxpayer, ticketed activities, a single donation from multiple unrelated individuals and other specific activities remain ineligible for Gift Aid, just as they have always been).
HMRC has also given JustGiving permission to retrospectively claim Gift Aid on all donations complying with this new definition for the previous period from November 2015 to now. This means that thousands of affected charities will be able to regain the Gift Aid income that they had lost.
As an affected charity, how will you receive this money?
We expect the processing of these retrospective payments to be challenging, and the JustGiving team is working hard to find the best way to get the right money to charities effectively. We will most likely have to phase the payments over a number of weeks, but please be reassured that we will be working to ensure that every charity affected gets the correct funds as quickly as possible. These transactions will be accompanied by appropriate reporting.
Once a clear process has been defined, all affected charities will be notified.
We are very pleased to have achieved this outcome for our charities in collaboration with HMRC. Our ambition has always been to ensure that every UK taxpayer entitled to claim Gift Aid on their charitable donation is able to do so, and we will continue to work closely with HMRC to ensure that Gift Aid is applied accurately and fairly, while making the experience as intuitive as possible for donors. Thank you all once again for being so patient and supportive throughout this process.