Treasury will consult next month on digital giving, CTG conference hears
The Treasury will launch a consultation on digital giving next month, Cerys Morgan, deputy director of personal tax, told the Charity Tax Group annual conference on 24th April.
The consultation will explore three major areas: a single Gift Aid declaration process for online giving portals such as PayPal and JustGiving, a universal Gift Aid database, and changes to the wording of the Gift Aid declaration.
Depending on the results of the consultation, legislation could be seen in the Finance Bill 2014.
Karl Wilding, head of policy and research at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) told delegates at a panel session on digital giving that he was unsure about the wisdom of a universal Gift Aid database. Public fear about how data is used could lead to donors resisting a universal database, he suggested. Instead, he said, competition between different platforms could be a positive.
Nick Aldridge, chief executive of PayPal Giving Fund, said that donors should only have to sign one Gift Aid declaration for each giving platform and that they should not have to name the charities that would benefit.
Because donors are now required to say that they pay enough tax to cover every donation they make in a given year in a Gift Aid declaration, Aldridge suggested the requirement to name the charity could be removed.
This could be a first step towards “the common goal of a database that charities could share,” without making the existing system obsolete, he said.
Colin Smith, finance director of Comic Relief, told the conference: “My fear is that there are so many new ways of giving that the Treasury and HM Revenue & Customs will be running to keep up.”
Smith said that Gift Aid is already a major problem with text donations for Comic Relief. Although their average Gift Aid take-up is above 80%, Gift Aid reclaim on text donations is “in the low teens.” The user experience for claiming Gift Aid donations makes it highly problematic, he said.
New payment methods such as peer-to-peer, contactless and online banking could make it even more difficult for charities to claim Gift Aid, he said, and asked if such developments “might spell the end of Gift Aid.”