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

Preparing a 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. Bu adding them to your Giving module settings, it saves you having to enter all the login 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!)

Note The Gift Aid sections in the Giving module and Donate are only visible to churches in the UK (except UK protectorate states like the Channel Islands and Isle of Man).

Preparing a 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). Note that in compliance with HMRC protocols, you will produce and submit a separate claim for each of your sites - and "all sites" or "multi-site" claim is not possible. 

Next, enter the Date range for which you want to make the claim...

When selecting the Date range, 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.

Optionally 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.

Note also the option to include Gift Aid Refunds in the claim. Refunds will relate to previously claimed Gift Aid that has subsequently been reversed and the refund of which can be offset in your new claim. HMRC will deduct refunds from your total claimable Gift Aid, refunding you the net amount. A claim must contain at least one claimable donation before refunds can be included. A claim can still be submitted, even if the total Gift Aid to be refunded exceeds the total being claimed, however a manual payment will need to be made to HMRC.

As you make changes to the Site, Date, Fund and Method filters and refunds, the list of matching, eligible donations will automatically update and be listed and summarised on the page. Once you are happy click Save Changes to move on to the next stage.

If there are any errors detected in your claim, these will now be reported. Since a claim will only include eligible, unclaimed claimable donations covered by a Gift Aid declaration, typical errors will likely be related to missing address or postcode information of the givers within the claim. You ow have two options - to click each giver in the error list and correct the missing information, or to click the "X" next to a giver in the error list remove all the donations related to giver with an error so that you can proceed with your claim for the remaining givers.

You will not be able to proceed further until all detected errors have been resolved. You can then complete your review processes and finally click Finish review to proceed to the next stage. At each stage you can print or download your claim in progress.

You will be asked to confirm by clicking Finish Review again. Clicking "Finish Review" will lock the claim to prevent further changes. The Gift Aid status of each donation in the claim is changed from Unclaimed to Claimed. Note that is is possible to Undo a claim that has been finished - click "Undo" in the top right corner of the claim page. However a claim cannot be undone once it has been submitted to HMRC.

Your claim is now ready to be downloaded as a CSV file for manual submission to HMRC, or to be upload to HMRC online.

If you download your claim to a CSV for manual submission, the claim progress will update to Completed - you may need to refresh the claim page to see the progress bar complete.

If you Submit [your claim] to HMRC, the claim progress will update to Submitted.

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 a "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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