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Gift aid small donations scheme (GASDS)

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GASDS is a top up on small cash donations introduced in 2013.

Charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs can claim a top up payment of 25% on cash donations of £30 or less without the need for a Gift Aid declaration – this captures things like bucket collections and collecting tins.

The maximum you can claim from April 2016 is £2,000 (on £8,000 of donations).

The outline of the scheme is here

More detailed information is here

Parish Resources have produced comprehensive practical information packs aimed at local churches which have plenty of advice applicable to other community organisations 

Donations that are eligible for GASDS

  • It has to be a cash donation of £30 or less from an individual – HMRC are reasonable about this and expect the same from you – unless there is a good reason (several notes folded together, or put in an envelope) you can assume that any donation of £30 or less is eligible.
  • From April 2017 you can also claim on contactless donations
  • The donation must be collected and banked in UK – so if you are in the (bad) habit of putting aside some cash income for petty cash rather than banking it – you won’t be able to claim GASDS on that.
  • It cannot be membership fees
  • It cannot be cash donations from companies or trusts
  • No benefits given to individual

Rules about claiming

You need to be registered for Gift Aid if you want to claim GASDS. 

HMRC seem to administer GASDS as a sort of offshoot of Gift Aid at the moment, so they use an organisation’s fitness to be registered for Gift Aid and ability to manage those processes as a proxy for deciding whether it has capacity to cope with GASDS.

In order to claim GASDS:

  • You must have claimed Gift Aid:
    • in the same tax year as you want to claim GASDS
    • without incurring a penalty in the last two years
    • in at least two of the last four tax years (without a two-year gap between claims) if you’re claiming on donations made before 6 April 2017.
  • Your GASDS claim can’t be more than 10 times your Gift Aid claim – so if you receive £100 in Gift Aid donations in a tax year, you can only claim on up to £1,000 of small donations under GASDS for that year (when you actually submit the claim is irrelevant for this rule).  This means that it is still worth getting people to commit to Gift Aid where you can.

The rules on timing of claims and when you receive the money are slightly convoluted, but Stewardship have produced an information sheet for churches that has a worked example.

Collections in community buildings

If your charity has community buildings, you may be able to claim up to £2,000 for each building on donations collected either:

  • in your community building, or
  • in the same council area as your community building, if you collected the donations on or after 6 April 2017.

For something to be a community building, your charity has to have control of the building (that can be a part of a building) – and you have to have charitable activities going on in it, at least six times a year and attended by at least 10 people.

Charitable activities are not fundraising activities. The activity itself must be for the good, it must be for groups together, beneficiaries must not be charged, and it should be open to the public (or a section of the public) – so a concert in a community centre where the purpose is to raise money wouldn’t count but a Musical Memories event aiming to bring people together & improve mental health would.  

The HMRC rules are very detailed 

The Parish Resources Guide (again, aimed at churches but much of it applicable to community organisations) walks you through the process – including the boxes to complete when submitting the forms.

Connected charities and merged charities

Connected charities have to split the GASDS allowance between you.   

If one of the charities has a community building, the expectation is that you will claim as if you were a single charity with a community building – ie sharing a claim for donations of up to £8,000 collected in the same local authority area as that building. 

If your group of connected charities is spread geographically, it may make more sense to be able to claim for donations collected anywhere in the UK – if that’s the case all the charities need to make an election to HMRC.

If none you have a community building, or you’re claiming for donations made before 6 April 2017, you share a normal £8,000 limit.

If your charity has merged with another charity or CASC you may be able to take on the other charity’s record of good claims.

Keeping records

Record keeping is detailed but not difficult.

It’s a good idea to set up a template for when people are counting the cash that will capture the information that you need clearly.

Two people should check and count the cash collected (and sign off to show they have).

You need to:

  • record how much money was collected, including denomination of coins and notes
  • record the date the money was collected
  • confirm that no individual donation was more than £30.

Keep records of small donations you’ve received for six years from the end of the tax year to which they relate.

You’ll need to keep records of any contactless card donations that you’ve taken, for example receipts from your card machine.

For collections in community buildings you’ll also need to record:

  • the address of the place you collected the donations (including postcode)
  • the type of event
  • the number of events you held
  • an estimate of how many people were at the event
  • when you collected the donations.

Common errors to avoid

  • Claims put in that exceed GASDS limit – check for matching
  • Charities claiming GASDS by accounting period, not by tax year
  • Entering GASDS on Gift Aid claim schedules – although you use the same spreadsheet format, you need to submit a separate spreadsheet for GASDS and Gift Aid
  • Not eligible for GASDS - check that you have submitted a Gift Aid application in the tax year

How to claim

You can claim GASDS in the same way as you claim Gift Aid and you can do it through software or through a single spreadsheet of donations.

You can claim Gift Aid using Charities Online with:

For claims of over 1,000 donations you must use a software.

Last reviewed: 08 March 2021

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This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 08 March 2021

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