The Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme: the basics

The Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) allows eligible charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) to claim top-up payments from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on small cash donations that they receive. The scheme applies to cash donations of £20 or less, received after 6 April 2013.

Charities and CASCs need to meet certain conditions so they can qualify for the scheme. If they do qualify, a charity or CASC could claim a top-up payment on up to £5,000 of small cash donations in a tax year - but this claim limit depends on certain circumstances.

This guide introduces the scheme, explains the conditions you need to meet in order to qualify for the scheme and gives an overview of how it works.

On this page:

How to work out if your charity qualifies

Your charity or CASC will be able to use the scheme if your organisation:

  • is a charitable trust or a charitable company, recognised by HMRC as a charity for tax purposes or a CASC
  • makes claims under Gift Aid
  • has existed for at least the last two complete tax years (6 April - 5 April)
  • has made a successful Gift Aid claim in at least two out of the last four tax years, without a gap of two or more tax years between those Gift Aid claims or since the last claim made
  • has not incurred a penalty on a Gift Aid or GASDS claim made in the current or previous tax year

You can do a quick check to see if your charity or CASC qualifies by using the 'Can my organisation claim under GASDS?' flowchart.

Can my organisation claim under GASDS? (PDF 21K)

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Follow the link below to find out whether your organisation is eligible to claim a GASDS top-up payment.

GASDS: are you eligible to claim?

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Which donations you can claim for

You can only claim under GASDS for small cash donations. These are cash donations of £20 or less. The donation must be in bank notes or coins. Donations made by cheque, credit card, text or bank transfer do not count. Follow the link below to find out what counts as a small donation.

What counts as a small donation?

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How much you can claim

Most charities or CASCs can claim top-up payments on up to £5,000 of small cash donations they receive in a tax year, resulting in a top-up payment of up to £1,250.

The amount of top-up payments that a charity or CASC can claim under the GASDS depends on the amount they also claim under Gift Aid. For every £1 of Gift Aid donations that a charity or CASC claims on, they can claim on £10 of GASDS donations up to the maximum limit. This is called 'matching'.

The maximum limit your charity or CASC can claim may vary depending on the circumstances of particular charities or CASCs.

Follow the link below to use the 'How much can my organisation claim under GASDS?' flowchart to tell you if your charity or CASC may have a different claim limit.

How much can my organisation claim under GASDS? (PDF 14K)

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What counts as a small donation?

GASDS: working out how much you can claim

Making a GASDS claim

Donors and claiming back higher rate tax

GASDS is not a tax relief, so higher and additional rate taxpayers will not be able to claim tax relief on their GASDS donations.

Claiming for small cash donations received before 6 April 2013

The scheme applies only to small cash donations received on or after 6 April 2013, so any donations received by your charity or CASC on or before 5 April 2013 will not qualify under the GASDS.

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How the GASDS top-up payment is calculated

The payment is calculated in the same way as a Gift Aid payment. Payments to charities and CASCs under the Gift Aid scheme and the GASDS are based on the basic rate of income tax for a tax year. So where the basic rate of income tax is 20 per cent, a small cash donation income of £5,000 will entitle the charity or CASC to a top-up payment of £1,250.

What counts as a small donation?

GASDS: working out how much you can claim

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GASDS and the Gift Aid scheme

GASDS does not replace the Gift Aid scheme. The scheme is in addition to Gift Aid.

GASDS provides for top-up payments to charities on small cash donations where it is difficult to obtain a Gift Aid declaration. An example is cash collected in street collections or at religious services. Your charity or CASC does not have to know the identity of the donor, unlike with Gift Aid, payments under GASDS are not a tax relief and there is no audit trail back to the original donor’s tax record. You don't have to collect Gift Aid declarations from your donors for GASDS.

Keep claiming Gift Aid

Your charity or CASC still needs to make regular Gift Aid claims in order to be able to claim GASDS payments. You can still claim Gift Aid on donations under £20 and, unlike GASDS, there is no limit on the amount of donations on which your charity or CASC can claim Gift Aid relief.

A donation on which a Gift Aid declaration is given to a charity or CASC cannot be a small cash donation for the purposes of the GASDS.

If you haven't made a Gift Aid claim before, or you haven't claimed for some time, follow the link below to find out more about the Gift Aid scheme for charities and CASCs.

Gift Aid scheme for charities and CASC

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