Gift Aid

How Beacon helps you with Gift Aid; what makes payments eligible, what can be claimed and how Beacon makes this easy

Updated over a week ago

If you're a UK-based charity, Beacon does the heavy lifting to make it easy for you to claim Gift Aid on your donations from UK taxpayers.

Watch our short video to learn more about how Beacon makes it easy to manage your Gift Aid.

How Beacon helps you with Gift Aid

  1. When a payment (e.g. a donation) is added to your Beacon database, we automatically check to see if the payment is eligible for Gift Aid.

    Gift Aid eligibility checklist

  2. If a payment is eligible, the payment is automatically added to a new Gift Aid Claim in your Beacon database. This claim is marked as 'Open' - which means that the claim is currently being built up.

    Links to Gift Aid claim and declaration

  3. At the end of each month, the open claim as marked as 'Ready to submit'. This means that Beacon has finished building up the open claim, and it is ready to be submitted to HMRC.

    Gift Aid claim ready to submit

  4. Before submitting your claim, you can preview the payments that will be submitted to HMRC by downloading a CSV file with the data that will be sent, including:

    • First & last name

    • Address

    • Payment amount & date

    • Other info (for overseas and sponsorship)

  5. When you're ready to submit your claim, you can submit it directly to HMRC through Beacon. You won't need to login to Charities Online to submit the claim - Beacon communicates with HMRC directly.

  6. After submitting, we attach a CSV file with a list of all payments claimed, and the raw data (in XML) sent and received with HMRC (Important for audit purposes).

    HMRC submission data attachments

What makes a payment eligible for Gift Aid?

Not all payments are eligible for Gift Aid. HMRC have specific rules that determine whether a payment is eligible for Gift Aid, or not.

Beacon only adds eligible payments to claims, so it's important to make sure that payments are stored correctly in Beacon to maximise the amount of Gift Aid you can claim.

Learn more about Gift Aid eligibility here.

Are Gift Aid declarations collected through Beacon forms compliant with HMRC rules?

Absolutely! HMRC has an explicit note that mentions databases, but we'll look at why that doesn't apply to Beacon:

"The transcribing of declarations given by donors into a database will not satisfy the requirements to have an auditable record as such a record does not demonstrate that the donor made the declaration."

Firstly, Gift Aid declaration records from form submissions are not transcriptions; they are created directly from a donor's actions on your form.

Secondly, Gift Aid declaration records show that it was indeed the donor that created it, so does demonstrate that the donor made the declaration:

To fully complete the audit trail, there will be a 'form submission' entry on the donors timeline too, so you can even tie it back to the specific form they completed.

Tip: You can include the {{{gift_aid_declaration_ticked}}} merge tag in your form acknowledgements or notifications to see whether the donor gave a Gift Aid declaration on that form.

The merge tag will display either Yes or No depending on whether they chose to give a declaration or not.

Can donations for sponsored events be claimed through Beacon?

Yes. Learn more about claiming Gift Aid for sponsorships here.

Can we collect oral Gift Aid declarations through Beacon?

Yes. Learn more about collecting oral declarations here.

Does Beacon work with the small donations scheme?

Beacon allows you to claim Gift Aid top-up payments on small donations through the Small Donations Scheme (GASDS). Learn more about this here.

Does Beacon work with the aggregated donations scheme?

No. Beacon does not support the aggregated donations scheme.

We'd suggest that you store the details of individual donations, people, and Gift Aid declarations in Beacon. This will allow you to make full use of the CRM's features, its security, and Beacon's Gift Aid functionality. Even better, take these details through a Beacon form to cut down on manual data entry!

If you'd like to use HMRC's aggregated donations scheme, you will need to submit these Gift Aid claims outside of Beacon.

Is Beacon a Gift Aid collection agent?

No. Gift Aid collection agents claim Gift Aid for you, collecting the funds and paying you at a later date (often deducting a fee).

Beacon simply submits payments on your behalf (without taking a fee) as though you had uploaded them to HMRC yourself. Except that with Beacon, you don't have to deal with spreadsheets!

Why does Beacon need our HMRC login details?

HMRC requires these details from all third-party providers (like Beacon) who submit Gift Aid claims on your behalf. These details are used to securely communicate with HMRC when a Gift Aid claim is submitted.

Note: We take security really seriously here at Beacon HQ! That's why we add an extra level of encryption when saving your Gift Aid settings. We will never use these details to login to your HMRC account directly.

Unlike "collection agents", Beacon doesn't submit Gift Aid claims for you, we provide tools to make it easy for you to submit a claim yourself. Third-party collection agents like Virgin Money Giving or JustGiving do not require these details, as HMRC has a different integration approach for them. This is not the case for Beacon (and most other charity CRM providers) as we are not a collection agent.

Where do we find our charity ID?

Your Charity ID is different to your registration number with The Charities Commission. This is HMRC's reference ID, and you'll find it in your Government Gateway account.

  1. Once logged in, click the Claim tax back on donations link:

    Log in link for Government Gateway
  2. In the top-right of the page, you'll see your charity name, and the charity ID:

    Charity ID in Government Gateway

What does the 'Gift Aid allowed?' checkbox do?

All payments have a checkbox for 'Gift Aid allowed?'. This isn't a box for saying a payment will be claimed, it marks whether this payment is eligible in principle. This should be ticked for the vast majority of payments, unless you want to explicitly exclude it from being claimed (e.g. the donor received a substantial benefit for this donation).

For example, if you receive a donation, it should usually be ticked. You don't need to know if the payment is eligible, just that all other things considered it should be checked for eligibility.

Unchecked - This payment will not be claimed, even it it meets all other criteria for being claimed.
Checked - This payment might be claimed, but only if it meets all other criteria for being claimed.

What happens if we’ve made a mistake on a submitted Gift Aid claim?

If you’ve claimed too much on a previously submitted claim, then you can make an adjustment to your next claim in Beacon to reflect this.

Let’s say you had duplicate payments and accidentally claimed Gift Aid on a £100 donation twice. You would have claimed a total of £50 in Gift Aid from HMRC, composed of £25 from the correct payment and £25 from the duplicate payment. Before you click submit on your next Gift Aid Claim in Beacon, you will see the opportunity to make adjustments as below:

In our Adjustments card, we can enter the amount of our error (in our case, £25) and add any adjustment notes to provide context to HMRC.

Note: Adjustment amounts should always be positive; it is the amount that you've over-claimed.

Gift Aid claim adjustment screenshot

If you think you’ve claimed too little this is probably because payments that you thought were Gift Aid eligible didn’t meet Beacon’s requirements.

In this scenario, just find the payments that you think should have been claimed, but haven't, and update their information so that it meets the requirements. Once the payments are eligible, Beacon will automatically add them to your next claim.

Check out what makes a payment eligible for Gift Aid to see a list of requirements.

How do I calculate the Gift Aid value of donations we've received?

Beacon doesn't store Gift Aid amounts out of the box but there may be some reporting you wish to do where this is relevant. Luckily we've put together some handy Gift Aid smart field examples here to help you with this.

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