News In Focus
Society makes recommendations on charity law
16 October 2012
The Society will today give evidence to the Public Bill Committee on the Small Charitable Donations Bill.
The Bill seeks to introduce the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS), the purpose of which is to enable charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) to claim a Gift Aid-style payment on small cash donations up to £20 where it is often difficult to obtain a Gift Aid declaration.
John Hodge, member of the Society's charity law sub-committee, said: "We are very much supportive of the policy intent of the Bill, but we are of the view that the legislation is likely to have limited impact and that it will not catch all charities that could usefully benefit from it. As the legislation stands, in order to qualify for the scheme the charity already has to be operating a gift aid scheme, and therefore very small charities and charities set up for small one-off short term collections such as, for example, the repair of a church roof or the provision of a local amenity, are likely to be excluded."
The Society also intends to raise concerns around the definition of "small donation".
Mr Hodge said: "Clause 3 which sets out the definition of a 'small donation' is very difficult to understand and interpret. £20, which is the proposed maximum small cash donation for the purposes of the legislation, is a very small amount and in the overall context of running a charity, it would be difficult in practice to ascertain how much of it will be used for charitable purposes and how much for other administrative expenses.
"We would suggest that flexibility or provision for a review of how the legislation is working is built into the legislation in the event that it becomes easier to identify appropriate ways to widen the scope of the legislation once it has been in operation for a period of time."