Managing your Gift Aid declarations (UK only)
ChurchSuite's Giving module enables churches and other organisations to easily keep track of the Gift Aid declarations of their givers. The Giving module makes it easy to upload and store a digital 'scan' of a paper declaration, eliminating the need to retain paper copies.
In this article
Typically, a Gift Aid Declaration provides givers with the option to specify whether the declaration covers
- Just a single donation being given,
- All previous donations for up to 4 years from the date of signing the declaration,
- All future donations until further notice
ChurchSuite records the start date and end date of a declaration. The start date should not be confused with the date the declaration is signed. If the Giver opts to give Gift Aid on all previous donations up to the 4 year maximum, you must enter a start date dated 4 years prior to the declaration date, so that ChurchSuite knows when to claim Gift Aid from. Failure to enter a correct start date will result in historic donations showing as Not claimable. If you experience donations unexpectedly showing as Not claimable, check that the Declaration start date and end date has been entered correctly. Once corrected the Gift Aid status for historic donations will change to Unclaimed.
Adding declarations in ChurchSuite
Working within the Givers section of the Giving module search or navigate to the giver's profile page and click onto the Declarations tab. Click Add declaration.
On the Add declaration pop-up, complete all the details as appropriate. Typically a Gift Aid declaration is likely to be in respect of all donations made by a giver i.e. All Funds, but note the option to select a specific Fund if the declaration supplied is fund-specific e.g. just for donations for your 'Building Project' fund. Add the declaration's Start Date (required), which may not be the same as the date the declaration was signed. For ongoing (enduring) declarations, where the giver has not specified an End Date, you can leave this field empty.
Once you are happy with all the details, click Save to add the declaration. The newly-added declaration is now listed on the giver's profile in the Declarations section. There's no limit to the number of declarations that can be added for a giver. Note the Action menu options to Add file (see next section), or to further Edit or Delete a declaration in the list. Note that deleting a declaration will also delete the uploaded declaration file and set previously-claimed Gift Aided donations as 'overclaimed' (unless covered by another declaration).
Selecting Add file from a declaration's Action menu opens the file uploader. Drag and drop a suitably-prepared PDF, JPEG or PNG file into the drop zone, or click to browser your device and select the file.
The file is immediately uploaded to your ChurchSuite account against the declaration. Click to View file at any time - which will open in a new browser tab - ideal should you need to print the file using your browser's "Print" option.
Select View changes to see a "changes" log maintained whenever a declaration is edited or changed. Note also the option to Remove file - enabling you to remove the current file, perhaps to upload a new file. Since a Gift Aid declaration is a legal document required by HMRC, you may need to print a copy of a declaration before removing the file. Removing a file is immediate, permanent and irreversible!
Declarations auto-added by ChurchSuite Donate
ChurchSuite Donate enables churches and charitable organisations to receive online donations - see the related support articles for further information about setting up and using Donate.
As part of the process of making an online donation, a giver can select to "Gift Aid" their donation, requiring them to complete full details of their name, address and postcode; from which an electronically-signed Gift Aid declaration is auto-added against the giver's profile in respect of the donation(s) made.
Let's look at the giver "user experience" and then we'll look at the giver profile and Gift Ad declaration created in the Giving module. Using your Donate form, the giver will enter their donation amount, select the fund (if there is more than on fund), specify the frequency of their donation and the method by which they are giving. For funds set as "Gift-aid-able", the giver can optionally tick to Gift Aid their donation, and depending on your Giving module settings, the giver can be invited to increase their donation to cover the online payment processing transaction fees, so that you receive their full donation.
Donate will collect all the HMRC-required information (if not already held), such as the giver's name, address and postcode in order to create their giver profile. A digitally-signed declaration will also be added to their giver profile in respect of the donation being made.
Once a giver's donation has been processed through Donate, the Giving module is updated accordingly. Where Donate matches an online giver to an existing giver profile (based on email address), the donations and Gift Aid declaration are added to their existing profile. For recurring donations and if the matched giver already has an existing Gift Aid declaration covering the fund and date of the donation, a new Gift Aid declaration is not added. For one-off donations and if the matched giver already has an existing Gift Aid declaration covering the fund and date of the donation, a new Gift Aid declaration is always added and the donation and declaration are linked. Where Donate is unable to match to an existing giver, a new unlinked giver profile is added to the module and the donations and Gift Aid declaration are added too.
Clicking to view the file displays the full declaration, which can be printed if desired.
Remember, the electronic declaration added is only ever in respect of the donation(s) made through Donate. It is not possible for Donate to add a declaration that goes back 4 years to cover any previously made donations. It is also not possible for Donate to create "All funds" declarations - declarations are fund-specific for the fund selected in Donate by the giver.
For one-off donations, a one day declaration is added covering the donation's date and fund only. For recurring donations, an enduring declaration is added with a start date for the same date as the donation date and for the donation's fund, with no end date added.
Adding declarations in My ChurchSuite
Within the My Giving section of My ChurchSuite (if enabled in the Giving module's settings), church members can add Gift Aid declaration, including specifying which fund(s) the declaration applies to. All they need to do is click Add declaration.
On the Add declaration page, they select the Fund (or '--All funds--') and add the declaration start date. The system will allow them to back date their declaration by up to 4 years, in line with current HMRC Gift Aid legislation, which allows churches and charities to reclaim Gift Aid on donations in the previous four years. The end date is optional - if left blank, the declaration will run indefinitely until such time as the church member adds an end date.
Once their declaration has been saved, the only change possible by the giver is End declaration - perhaps if their tax circumstances change and they are no longer paying sufficient tax for your to continue to claim Gift Aid on their donations. This will set the declaration's end date to today's date. If the giver wishes their declaration ended on a different date they will need to communicate with your finance office to have that change processed by a Giving module User.
Note: In compliance with HMRC Gift Aid rules, My ChurchSuite users will only be able to add a new Gift Aid declaration if they have a valid UK address recorded in the My Details section of their profile.
Identifying missing Gift Aid declarations
In addition to viewing reports of Active and Deleted declarations, the Giving module's reports section includes a Declarations Missing report to help identify Gift Aid declarations that may be potentially missing for your givers (UK customers only).
Running the Declarations Missing report you can view all active givers without a current Gift Aid declaration on file. From here you might Tag those people for later follow up, or you can communicate directly from the report; perhaps sending an email enquiring whether their giving is able to qualify for Gift Aid relief.
You may have givers who are not eligible to make a Gift Aid declaration. To save you repeatedly seeing these givers in your Declarations Missing report it may be helpful to record a note against the giver and to "Tag" those who are unable to supply you with a declaration. In this way you can then easily "exclude" that Tag from the Declarations Missing report using the Tags filter so that you have a more accurate list of missing declarations.