Many of our clients have contacted us as they’re worried about meeting HMRC’s deadline for sending out annual Gift Aid letters, given the current situation regards the Covid-19 Coronavirus. As a result of the virus many Charities have the bulk of or all of their staff working from home, and many have also been furloughed until such time as charity retailers are allowed to begin trading again.
Until now there had been no confirmation from HMRC on whether the rules would be relaxed in light of the fact that it would be technically very difficult for charities to comply with the deadline. Tengo have spoken to the Retail Gift Aid and Digital Donations Lead at HMRC Charities, and have had it confirmed that it will be acceptable for charities to send out the letters ‘as soon as they possibly can’, and that in light of the current situation, the deadline is therefore flexible. Here’s the full official response that we have in writing from HMRC:
“Clearly, whilst our guidance at paragraph 3.42.15 states – “End of tax year letters’ are compulsory for charities operating the retail Gift Aid process using Method A and Method B. In both cases the individual must always be sent a summary of the net proceeds raised from the sale of their goods for the tax year by 31 May each year. However, if the donor’s total donations in a given year are less than £20, a letter only needs to be issued once every three years.” – what we are all having to cope with is totally unprecedented and if charity staff are following COVID-19 guidelines, working from home and self-isolating they presumably will not be issuing end of year letters and as such may not hit the 31st May deadline. If that is the case then I believe that, taking a pragmatic approach, charities should aim to issue them as soon as possible once matters have settled down and staff are allowed to return to work.”Retail Gift Aid and Digital Donations Lead at HMRC Charities, 26th March 2020