If your charity or Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) sells tickets to an event it has organised, for example a dinner or a concert, the payment for tickets does not qualify for Gift Aid.
To qualify for Gift Aid a payment must be a voluntary donation to your charity or CASC and must not be a compulsory payment that is linked to attendance at an event.
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Payments which are required in order to be able to attend an event are not voluntary gifts to charity and do not qualify for Gift Aid.
For example, if you charge £100 for a ticket to attend an event, none of the payments for tickets qualify for Gift Aid. Even if the ticket price more than covers the cost of the event, the money made from ticket sales counts as profit and not a voluntary donation.
If entry to an event is conditional on paying a 'minimum donation', the payment is also not voluntary as you must make the payment to attend the event, so it does not qualify for Gift Aid.
For example, if you charge a ticket price of £75 plus a minimum donation of £25, then the total £100 counts as the ticket price.
However, if someone chooses to pay more than the minimum donation, then that extra amount alone qualifies for Gift Aid. See the section below 'Ticket price plus donation'.
If a payment does not have to be made to attend an event, any donations that are received may qualify for Gift Aid.
If you set a ticket price and then ask for a 'suggested donation' then the donation will qualify for Gift Aid - but it must be completely clear to the person buying the ticket that they can attend without making a donation and preference must not be given to those who are willing to give a donation.
For example, if you set your ticket price at £100 plus a suggested (but not compulsory) donation of £20 and someone chooses to give you £120 for the ticket then £20 qualifies for Gift Aid.
You can charge what you like for a ticket to attend your fundraising event. Therefore you could arrange 'a donation only' event where people can attend the event whatever they decide to give - including people who pay nothing at all. You must not give preference to those who are willing to give a donation. In this case all donations would qualify for Gift Aid.
However, you must not put your charity’s or CASC's funds at risk. So it is always advisable from a charity perspective to set the ticket price at a level that at least covers the cost of the event.
Charity trustees are legally obliged to take proper care of charity funds. If an event loses money then the trustees may be personally liable for the losses and the charity may incur a tax charge. It is best to take professional advice before arranging a donation-only event.
For more help you can contact the Charities Helpline.