Many single church parishes can now enjoy the same benefits that other charities enjoy following the end of a long-running dispute between HMRC and the Church of England over how the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) applies to Anglicans.
The main beneficiaries of the new accord are Anglicans comprising just one church, which are now able to use the ‘top-up’ part of GASDS, rather than the more restrictive ‘community buildings’ part. Single churches in other denominations should check with their central offices for latest guidance.
‘Top-Up’ allows ALL small cash donations of £20 or less, non Gift-Aided, to be included in GASDS claims, subject to annual limits. This includes wall safe money, funds received at very small services with less than ten people present and any other small cash donations, all of which can’t be included under the ‘community buildings’ part of the scheme.
Prior to the new position, single church parishes had been forced to use ‘community buildings’ for GASDS, which meant that only monies collected in the building at services with more than 10 people present would qualify.
The Church of England challenged HMRC over GASDS when it was first introduced in April 2013. The argument centred around whether Anglican parishes were ‘connected’ or not for GASDS purposes. Late last year, HMRC finally accepted that they are not.
However this may not be the end of the story. It’s thought that HMRC might press for a change in the law during 2016 with the aim of ensuring Anglican parishes are seen as connected after all.
Unclaimed wall-safe and other monies can be claimed retrospectively by any single churches moving to ‘top-up’. Therefore, if you have any outstanding, previously ineligible, donations from previous years and allowance to use up for those years, be sure to mop these up as soon as possible, just in case the goal posts move again.
A few simple changes are needed to your Fund Filer account if you have been using ‘Community Buidlings’ but now wish to claim under ‘top-up’. See this link, which includes a guide on what to do.
Parishes and any other charities comprising multiple churches, buildings or sites should continue to use ‘Community Buildings’ for GASDS.
GASDS is one of the most common topics requiring support at Fund Filer HQ. It is covered across five articles in our Knowledge Base here.
It is not an easy topic to understand but it is well worth grasping the principles as it is worth and extra £2,000 income per annum to your charity, if you manage it properly.
See also our other recent article GASDS limits rise to £8,000 as part of planning your strategy for GASDS.