The Gift Aid Small Donation Scheme (GASDS) enables churches and charities to claim a top-up payment equivalent to Gift Aid on cash and contactless donations of £30 or less without the need for the donor to complete any paperwork or the requirement for the donor to be a taxpayer.

GASDS is paid at the same percentage as Gift Aid (25% of the donation amount). Because there is a limit on the amount of GASDS that can be claimed (more on this later), the GASDS scheme doesn’t replace the Gift Aid scheme. Indeed, you are still likely to want to ask donors to complete a gift aid declaration where they are able and eligible to do so.

When is GASDS typically used?

Examples of when GASDS might be claimed on cash collections and contactless donations:

  • Donations that are given during a church service including regular giving envelopes where the donor doesn’t have a Gift Aid declaration
  • Donations collected whilst fundraising
  • Donations left by visitors e.g. in a postbox or wall safe, as long as the postbox or wall safe is only used for collecting donations and isn’t also used for sales of books etc.

How do I know each individual donation is less than £30?

The overall total of an offering or collection that you claim GASDS on can be greater than £30. The £30 limit is on the amount an individual can give per collection under the GASDS scheme rules.

Typically you won’t know who has given into a collection box or offering and how much each person gave. Within the GASDS scheme rules, there is no requirement for you to know this or to find out if someone who has given a donation that is eligible under GASDS is a taxpayer.

You only need to exclude donations that you can identify as being more than £30 given by one individual. For example, this might be a contactless donation for £35, or £40 in cash that an individual has put inside an envelope or with an elastic band around it.

Also, HMRC has said that a common sense approach can be taken where a donor who gives cash regularly is away. For example, they add together two £25 weekly gifts into £50 on the week they return (see section 3.1 of this Stewardship article).

Are there any other restrictions or limits?

In order to claim GASDS, the church or charity must:

  • Be registered for Gift Aid
  • Have claimed and received Gift Aid relating to a tax year, before submitting a GASDS claim for that tax year
  • Not have incurred a penalty in the last two years.

GASDS can only be claimed on donations (not on membership fees). Donations that are linked to any benefit at all must be excluded (e.g. an event that asks for donations rather than sells tickets).

GASDS can only be claimed on cash donations and contactless donations from a card, phone or another device. Donations via other donation methods such as cheques, bank transfers, direct debit or standing orders are not eligible for GASDS.

You do not need to know who has made the donation. If however you do know who an individual gift is from, and they are a taxpayer with a valid Gift Aid declaration, then you must claim Gift Aid and not GASDS.

Scheme Limits

Churches and charities can claim GASDS on up to £8,000 of donations per tax year. This can provide churches and charities with an additional income of up to £2,000 per tax year (£8,000 x 25%).

The two exceptions that can change this amount limit are:

  1. Churches and charities cannot submit a GASDS claim that is more than 10 times your Gift Aid claim. This is only relevant if your organisation has claimed less than £200 in Gift Aid within a tax year.
  2. If your church or charity uses multiple community buildings within the same local authority area, the £8,000 per limit can be per community building rather than per charity. For full details about this, you should read carefully the guidance on the HMRC website.

Time Limits

The time limit for claiming under GASDS is shorter than for Gift Aid. It is two years from the end of the tax year (5th April) in which the gift was made.

To find out more, visit the HMRC website.

Other Restrictions

  • Donations must be made in the UK and deposited into a UK Bank account
  • Donations must be deposited into an account kept by or on behalf of the church or charity
  • Donations must be used for the charitable purposes of the church or charity

What records need to be kept for GASDS?

You need to record the:

  • total cash donations collected
  • date of the collection
  • date it was paid into a bank account

You’ll need to keep records of any contactless card donations that you’ve taken, for example, receipts from your card machine.

For collections in community buildings you’ll also need to record:

  • the address of the place you collected the donations (including postcode)
  • the type of event
  • the number of events you held
  • an estimate of how many people were at the event
  • when you collected the donations

Note: you do not need to pay GASDS money into your bank separately. These can be banked together and with other monies.

How do I submit a GASDS claim?

GASDS claims can be submitted via the HMRC Gift Aid portal. Or, if you are using finance software such as ExpensePlus to submit Gift Aid claims that integrate directly with HMRC, then typically the option to generate and submit GASDS claims will be built in as well.

Churches and charities often make GASDS claims once per year, after each tax year. However, as with Gift Aid, you can submit multiple smaller claims per year as long as you don’t double-claim on the same donations and stay within the restrictions and limits set by HMRC (see the section about this above).

For churches and charities that use ExpensePlus, claiming both GASDS and Gift Aid couldn’t be simpler. ExpensePlus provides an efficient process for allocating donation income, tracking Gift Aid eligibility, and creating Gift Aid claims. Read this blog to find out more about the Gift Aid module in ExpensePlus.

A person using ExpensePlus, a fund accounting software package for churches and charities, on a laptop.

If you have enjoyed this blog article and would like to find out more about how you can transform and simplify the way that your church or charity manages finances with ExpensePlus, check out our website. ExpensePlus is used by hundreds of churches and charities across the UK and is rated 4.8 out of 5 stars on Google with over 450 user reviews.