HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) Charities has updated the guidance on Gift Aid declarations and provided new model declarations. There is also a new checklist of the minimum information that must be included in a declaration, if a charity decides to create and use its own declaration form. Charities should ensure their Gift Aid declarations fulfil the requirements set out in the guidance, as HMRC are aware that many declarations in use are not in accordance with the legislation. The revised guidance makes clearer exactly what a declaration should include. If, after reading the guidance, charities find their declarations need to change, they should make those changes as soon as possible.
While reviewing some of the guidance for charities, an error has been identified in the guidance on keeping records. The guidance stated that the four-year time limit for making claims also applied to the retention of records. This is incorrect - records need to be kept for at least six years.
HMRC apologise for this error and realise that charities may have relied on this guidance, and may have already destroyed some records over four years old.
If records for this period have been destroyed based on previous guidance, HMRC will not penalise charities for not having the full six years’ worth of records, if they ask to see them. For those charities that have kept records for between four and six years, these records do now need to be retained for the full six-year retention period.