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HMRC is ending its concession allowing envelopes bearing old style Gift Aid declarations to be used up.
Churches and charities that have not replaced their Gift Aid envelopes since 2011 may now be using invalid declarations.
New wording requirements were introduced in early 2012 emphasising the need to ensure donors understood they needed to pay enough tax to cover all donations in the year. The new rules also clarified which taxes qualified for Gift Aid.
However, the requirements were not drawn up with envelopes in mind and didn’t take account of their long shelf life, years in many cases.
Envelope Systems Managing Director, Penny Miles, was instrumental in obtaining a concession from HMRC’s policy department allowing churches to use up their stocks to save wastage.
She said: "I remember it being quite alarming at the time. There was a sudden announcement with a sudden deadline of the year end to move to the new style. There are about three million of our envelopes in the nation’s churches and charities at any one time. The wastage would have been enormous.
"HMRC were very helpful about it once we sat down and discussed it. They agreed to treat envelopes as a 'special situation'. It was a good solution and we also negotiated a more envelope-friendly ‘lite’ version of the new wording at the same time.
"I’m not surprised at the new decision. It is nearly three years now since the new rules came in," said Penny.
This concession has been in place throughout 2013 and this year, but HMRC has now drawn a line. An HMRC spokesman told Envelope Systems: "The announcements that changes to the Gift Aid declaration wording were necessary were made in early 2012 with a deadline that all GADs be updated by 31 December 2012.
"As we approach the end of 2014, after 2½ years, we do expect churches to have stopped using old stocks of Gift Aid declarations and Gift Aid envelopes and to now be using forms and envelopes that contain the updated wording explaining the types of income tax that can be used to cover a donor's Gift Aid declarations."
Most customers have updated their envelopes since early 2012, but if you have yet to do so, please do get in touch with us either by telephone, email or order online.
Check your stocks and order now.
published on 1 December 2014
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