7 Things churches should know about the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme

The 13,000 Church of England Parishes could get over £16M of additional income


The Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) is a government initiative to allow charitable organisations like your church to claim a small amount of income on cash donations where it might be difficult to obtain a Gift Aid declaration.


BUT it is more complicated than it first seems:

  1. It is only at the consultation stage and it is difficult to see that it will become law in time for claims to be made in the 2013-14 tax year.

  2. It is NOT a tax relief scheme but a grant of public money.

  3. Just being a charity is not enough to be entitled to claim. The charity must have claimed Gift Aid for three years before it can claim this benefit.

  4. Maximum donations of £20 are eligible

  5. If a donation qualifies for tax relief i.e. planned giving payments with a declaration, it cannot be classified under the GASDS scheme.

  6. The activity during which donations are received must have taken place in a ‘community building’ which is defined as a place of worship, village or town hall or other building which is accessible to the public or a section of the public.

  7. In some circumstances the £5,000 limit can be increased where local groups connected to a church charity fund raise as part of their charitable activities i.e. a toddler group or a group supporting elderly people. However, the criteria for qualification are very complex.

In my opinion as it stands the idea is a good one but is far too complicated for the types of organisation it is designed to benefit.  There is a undeniable need for simpler rules and a clear distinction between GASDS and Gift Aid.

But this is certainly an issue your Church Treasurer should follow over the months to come.


John Pringle

JEMT Treasurer

Posted 19th June 2012