Reclaiming Gift Aid through ChurchSuite (UK only)

Reclaiming your church's gift aid can seem like a lot of hard work. That's why the Giving module takes care of a lot of the heavy lifting for you! Here is how you can prepare a gift aid reclaim with ChurchSuite.

In this article

Prepare the Gift Aid Claim
Submit your claim directly to HMRC
Download your Gift Aid claim
Reporting Gift Aid donations

Are you registered with HMRC online?

Before you can submit Gift Aid claims online to HMRC, you must first be registered with "HMRC Online Services". Note that this is different from simply being registered with HMRC. With an "HMRC Online Services" registration you will be provided with login credentials that you will add to your Giving module settings, so that ChurchSuite can authenticate with "HMRC Online Services" each time a Gift Aid claim is being submitted. Adding them to your Giving module settings saves you having to enter all the information manually each time you submit a claim.

For more information about registering for HMRC Online Services, click here.

Once activated, head in to your Giving module settings and add in your organisation details and HMRC Online Services login credentials provided. Be sure to put the right information in the right box - especially the Charities Online User ID, not to be confused with the Charity ID and the Charity Number (3 different things!)

Prepare the Gift Aid Claim

Go to "Giving" > "Claims" and click the "Add Claim" button.

On the "Add claim" page, select the Site you are running your claim for (multi-site enabled churches only). Then enter the date range for which you want to make the claim.

When selecting the dates, a helpful drop-down menu gives you preset options of "Tax year to date" (the default, which will include all unclaimed 'claimable' donations from the start of the current tax year to date), "Last tax year", or "Custom dates"; allowing you to specify a date range 'from' and 'to'.

Next, choose which fund or selection of funds you are running the claim for. Note that you can run and submit separate claims for your various funds if you wish.

Choose the giving method you want to include in your claim - all giving methods are assumed by default, but you can restrict the donations being claimed by certain methods, such as just your card donations. This will depend on your preferred workflows and internal accounting practices.

Click "Preview Donations" to generate a list of all eligible donations that meet your criteria that will be added to this claim i.e. unclaimed and claimable.

If everything is in order click "Save Changes" to move to the next stage.

Carry out one final review down the list of eligible donations and, if you are happy to continue, click "Finish Review".

You will be asked to confirm by clicking "Finish Review" again.

Your claim is now ready to be submitted to HMRC. You have two different options for how you can submit your Gift Aid claim to HMRC within ChurchSuite - either to submit directly to HMRC using your Government Gateway Charities Online credentials (which can be stored in the Giving module settings), or to download a Gift Aid claim from within ChurchSuite and then upload it manually to HMRC (both are explained below) through their Charities Online portal.

We now outline both submission options below.

1. Submit your claim online directly to HMRC through ChurchSuite

In order to submit your Gift Aid claim to HMRC directly begin by clicking the "Submit to HMRC" button.

Next, enter the details of your church's Charities Online account (You can store your HMRC details in the Giving module settings so that you don't need to re-type them each time).

Finally, click "Submit" to submit your Gift Aid claim directly to HMRC.

In addition to a submission 'success' message with a date and time stamp, your Gift Aid claim will now show with an "Submitted" status in "Giving" > "Claims". No further submission action is required. HMRC will now process your claim and reimburse your claim amount in the usual manner.

Common submission errors

If you receive a 'House' error when submitting a claim using the "Submit to HMRC" method, this error message (returned by the HMRC online portal) can be sometimes misleading. If you download the claim CSV file and review the contents, one likely cause is where a "couple" giver has a missing first and/or last name for the spouse on the giver's profile. This can happen if the spouse of a linked giver is deleted from the Address Book.

2. Download your Gift Aid claim

For churches who wish to manually submit their Gift Aid claim through the Charities Online portal, ChurchSuite allows you to download the necessary file(s). Here's how.

In order to download your Gift Aid claim as a CSV file for manual submission to HMRC, begin by hovering your pointer over the "Download" button at the top of the screen.

You will see four available downloads:

  • HMRC SDS spreadsheet opens a page on the HMRC website from where you can download HMRC's SDS spreadsheet for submitting Small Donations Scheme gift aid claims. Open this spreadsheet using MS Excel or a spreadsheet program of your choice. Paste the contents of the ChurchSuite CSV (see above) from the clipboard into the HMRC spreadsheet using the spreadsheet program's menus or by pressing "Control"+"V" on your keyboard (if on a Mac, use "Cmd"+"V").
  • HMRC spreadsheet opens a page on the HMRC website from where you can download HMRC's spreadsheet for submitting gift aid claims. Open this spreadsheet using MS Excel or a spreadsheet program of your choice. Paste the contents of the ChurchSuite CSV (see above) from the clipboard into the HMRC spreadsheet using the spreadsheet program's menus or by pressing "Control"+"V" on your keyboard (if on a Mac, use "Cmd"+"V").
  • Download claim CSV downloads your Gift Aid claim in a format that is ready to be submitted to HMRC. After downloading, open this CSV file using MS Excel or a spreadsheet program of your choice. Copy the entire contents onto the clipboard using the spreadsheet program's menus or by pressing "Control"+"C" on your keyboard (if on a Mac, use "Cmd"+"C").
  • Download PDF downloads your Gift Aid claim in a PDF format.

Save your HMRC spreadsheet and give it a final check. This is now ready to be submitted to HMRC.

ChurchSuite considers any finished claim in ChurchSuite to have been submitted as the system clearly doesn't know whether or not you have submitted an HMRC spreadsheet to HMRC outside of ChurchSuite. The benefit of this is that ChurchSuite can make sure that you always know which donations have been claimed, as long as you submit every claim that you prepare through ChurchSuite.

Reporting Gift Aid donations

To aid reconciliation of Gift Aid donations in ChurchSuite's Giving module with postings in your church's accounts software, the "Giving" > "Reports" > "Gift Aid Donations" report will be helpful.

The Gift Aid Donations report allows you to filter gift-aided donations by range of date, fund, giving method, status and Tag. Click "Generate" after making changes to the filter parameters. From this report you can communicate directly with the Givers, print or download the report, or add Givers to a Tag.

To report all donations, including those where Gift Aid is not claimable, the "Giving" > "Reports" > "Donations Total" report can be used in a similar way.

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