With my Churchwarden hat on there was a good little bit of news from the Budget today – the news that although the basic rate of income tax will be cut from 22% to 20% on April 6th (which was announced last year), they are now not going to cut the rate at which Gift Aid will be paid out – at least not for the next three years. Financially, the drop in Gift Aid income would have made a small but significant impact on our income as a Church. Just a pity that the government only got round to doing anything about the problem less than a month before the change was due to take place, once Churches and charities have spent time putting together campaigns to highlight the issue to givers – it would have saved people a whole pile of work if this had been announced months ago… Better late than never though.
We took our house guest along to Windsor Castle yesterday, however one of the most amazing things was that whilst waiting in the queue to go in (remembering that Windsor Castle technically belongs to the state) was that we were asked if we wanted to Gift Aid our admission.
For those of you unaware of the scheme, Gift Aid was a process brought in by the government whereby charities could claim back any tax paid by a UK tax payer on donations made to their charity. In the case of our church it gets us an extra 28p per Â£1 donated under the scheme. However various museums and the like hit upon a way whereby they could get more Gift Aid by classifying admission to their museums as a donation. Last year it was announced that this was to be clamped down upon by the Inland Revenue as it wasn’t a genuine donation and against the spirit of a scheme to encourage charity donation, i.e. I had to donate exactly Â£12.50 to get into Windsor Castle, I couldn’t opt to donate some other amount, or nothing at all and still get in. The new rules, which come in next year are detailed on the Inland Revenue site, and also in this BBC News item.