Gift Aid declarations: claiming tax back on donations

How charities and CASCs can make written, verbal and online declarations and what information to include.


A Gift Aid declaration allows charities and community amateur sports clubs (CASCs) to claim tax back on eligible donations.

It’s important that you keep records of declarations and Gift Aid payments.

If you make a Gift Aid claim without collecting a declaration from the donor, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) may ask you to repay the equivalent amount in tax.

Declaration formats

A declaration by a donor can be made in writing, verbally or online. Whichever format you use, donors must provide the required information for your Gift Aid claim to be valid.

Online and hand-written declaration forms

Donors can fill in their details on a paper form. Forms could also be printed on a collection envelope like those used in church services or house-to-house collections.

You may prefer to offer donors an online form, eg on your website. Whichever format you offer, donors must provide the required information.

HMRC template declarations

HMRC provides free template declaration forms for you to use. You don’t have to use a template, but if you do, you can be sure that declarations will meet HMRC’s requirements.

You can include additional information to suit your charity or CASC’s needs, eg reference numbers.

Download template declaration forms for charities and CASCs:

You can backdate declarations. You can also cover future donations with an Charities and CASC: Gift Aid declaration forms for multiple donation.

The template declarations were amended and published 21 October 2015 for use by April 2016. HMRC recommends using the new declaration now. Charities and CASCs holding stocks of printed materials that were ordered and printed before the new declaration was amended, can use up their current stock before using the new declaration.

Verbal declarations

In some cases it’s easier for donors to provide a Gift Aid declaration verbally, eg when making a donation over the phone or when making a donation for the entrance fee to view a charity’s property.

Verbal declarations must include the same information as hand-written or online declarations.

You must send or give donors a written confirmation of a verbal declaration. This needs to include the same information as hand-written or online declarations. It must also tell your donors that they can cancel their declaration within 30 days of the date of the written confirmation.

You must keep records of a verbal declaration.

What declarations must include

There is no set design for a declaration form or a verbal declaration, but it must include:

  • the name of your charity or CASC
  • the donor’s name
  • the donor’s home address
  • whether the declaration covers past, present or future donations or just a single donation
  • a statement that the donor wants Gift Aid to apply (this could be a tick box on a written or online declaration)
  • an explanation that the donor needs to pay the same amount or more of UK Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax as all charities and CASCs will claim on the donor’s gifts in a tax year and that the donor is responsible to pay any difference

If you’re organising a sponsored event, like a marathon, your sponsorship forms can include a Gift Aid declaration. The forms must also include the:

  • amount of donations collected
  • date that pledged donations were collected
  • date when the sums collected were handed over to you

Explain to the donor that that they need to pay the same amount or more of UK Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax as all charities and CASCs will claim on the donor’s gifts in a tax year and that the donor is responsible to pay any difference.

Keeping records

You must keep records of all Gift Aid declarations, whether they are written, online or verbal. This is to prove that each donor included in your claim has made a declaration.

HMRC can ask to see the Gift Aid declarations that your donors have completed. If you claim Gift Aid on payments from a donor who hasn’t made a Gift Aid declaration, you will have repay the tax that you’ve claimed.

If your records show that you received a declaration from a donor, but you can’t find the declaration, you can send the donor a written confirmation of their original declaration.

Electronic records

You can scan original paper declarations and store them electronically. If you keep an electronic record of declarations, you can destroy the original forms, but you must be able to view and print out the scanned images of your declarations.

Records of verbal declarations

To keep a record of verbal declarations from donors, you can:

  • keep an audio recording of each donor making their Gift Aid declaration
  • keep a record of when the letter confirming a donor’s verbal declaration was issued

You must keep records of any cancelled declarations including the cancellation date.

How long to keep records

All CASCs and charitable trusts and most charities must keep declaration records for 6 years from the end of the accounting period they relate to. The deadline to claim Gift Aid depends on how your charity is set up.

If you have any enduring declarations covering regular donations, eg a direct debit or standing order, keep them permanently. If a donor stops their donations, then the time limit applies from the date of the final donation.

If a single declaration applies to more than one donation, work out when you received the last donation and keep the declaration for the required time from that point.

If HMRC asks you questions about your claim, keep your declaration records until the enquiries are finished, even if the time limit has expired.

If you followed HMRC guidance before January 2012 and destroyed records that were between 4 and 6 years old, you won’t be penalised. If you’ve kept your records from that period, continue to keep them until the time limit has passed.

Declarations for more than one charity or CASC

A declaration can include the name of more than one charity or CASC, eg when a joint fundraising event is held. You must make the donor aware of how the donation is divided between organisations. You must also keep a record of how the donations were split and a copy of the declaration for your records.

Joint declarations

Married couples, couples in a civil partnership or people living at the same address can make declarations on the same form. Only one donor needs to sign.

You must list each donor separately on your claim form for joint Gift Aid declarations.

Cancelled declarations

A donor can cancel their declaration at any time, eg, because they no longer pay UK tax. Cancellation will not affect Gift Aid donations already made. Once a declaration has been cancelled, any further donations from that donor will not qualify.

Donors can’t cancel declarations for one-off donations once they’ve made the donation.

A donor can cancel a verbal declaration within 30 days of them receiving a letter from you confirming the declaration.

If you make a verbal declaration, you must list each donor separately on your records.

Keep records of any cancelled declarations, including the cancellation date.

Published 27 November 2014
Last updated 20 January 2016 + show all updates
  1. Entry level guidance at 'what declarations must include section' amended.
  2. Further information regarding use of the new declaration wording to be used from April 2016.
  3. The what declarations must include section has been updated.
  4. Changes to the Gift Aid Declaration forms, sponsor form and guidance have been made to make it easier for customers to understand their tax obligations when they make donations to a charity or Community Amateur Sports Club.
  5. First published.