Reclaiming Gift Aid through ChurchSuite (UK only)

Reclaiming Gift Aid can seem like a lot of hard work. That's why the Giving module takes care of most of the heavy lifting for you!

In this article

Preparing and submitting a Gift Aid claim
Reporting Gift Aid donations
Deleting a claim and its donations

Are you registered with HMRC online?

Before you can submit Gift Aid claims online to HMRC through ChurchSuite, you must first be registered with HMRC Online Services. Note that this is different from being registered with HMRC. With an HMRC Online Services registration you will be provided with login credentials for manually uploading and submitting claims online, and it's those same settings that you will add to the Giving module's settings so that ChurchSuite can authenticate with HMRC Online Services each time a Gift Aid claim is being submitted directly from the claim page in ChurchSuite. By adding them to your Giving module settings, it saves you having to enter the login information manually each time you submit a claim. For more information about registering for HMRC Online Services, click here.

Once activated, head into the Giving module's settings...

...and scroll down to the Gift Aid Online section to add in your organisation's details and HMRC Online Services login credentials. 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 Registered Charity Number. Click Edit to make changes.

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

Preparing and submitting a Gift Aid claim

Working within the Claims section of the Giving module click Add claim.

For multi-site customers only, begin by selecting the Site you are preparing a claim for - a Gift Aid claim is always site-specific and you will produce and submit separate claims for each site ("All sites" or "multiple site" claims are not possible due to the limitations of the HMRC API).

Next, select the range of Dates for the claim. Typically you'll produce a claim for the current Tax year to date, which will include all previously unclaimed donations since the start of the current tax year. You can optionally select other Date periods - perhaps if claiming for a previous tax year or custom range of dates. Due to HMRC API constraints, it is not currently possible to create and submit a claim that spans across tax years (e.g. an accounting year) - this would need to be submitted as two claims.

By default a claim will include eligible donations for all funds, however, you can optionally select specific Funds to produce the claim for. In this way, you can produce and submit separate claims for your various funds if you wish - ideal if you want to distinguish the Gift Aid reclaimed for certain funds and receive separate refunds back from HMRC.

It's also possible to optionally produce claims based on the giving Methods. All Methods are assumed by default, but you can filter the donations being claimed by selected methods if you prefer. The claim filters you select for each claim to be produced will depend on your internal accounting practices and how you prefer to distinguish or process the Gift Aid claim amounts you receive from HMRC.

Note also the option to Include refunds, selected by default. Refunds, if any, will relate to previously claimed Gift Aid that has become overclaimed (perhaps due to a change in a giver's tax circumstances), and that overclaim has given rise to a refund due to HMRC, which can be offset against the claim you are producing, so that you receive the 'net of refunds' amount. A claim must contain at least one claimable donation before refunds can be included - a 'refunds only' claim is not possible - however a claim can still be submitted even if the total Gift Aid to be refunded exceeds the total being claimed. In this scenario HMRC may require a manual payment in settlement of the amount due.

Notice that as you make changes to the Site, Dates, Funds, Methods and Include refunds criteria, the list of matching, claimable donations and the claim summary totals automatically update. Once you are happy, click Save to proceed to the next stage of the claim process. When you click Save the Gift Aid status of all donations in the claim will change from Unclaimed to Claim pending.

If there are any Errors detected in the claim, these will now be reported. Since a claim only includes previously unclaimed, claimable donations covered by a Gift Aid declaration, typical errors are likely to be related to missing address or postcode information of the givers within the claim. You have two options - to Edit each giver in the error list and provide the missing information or Remove, which will remove all the donations related to the giver from the claim so that you can proceed with your claim for the remaining givers. You can then claim separately for those removed givers at a later date once the errors have been rectified. You will not be able to proceed further until all detected errors have been resolved.

During this review stage you can still Edit or Remove individual donations from the claim. Removed donations remain claimable and can be included in a future claim.

When editing donations in a claim, certain fields cannot be edited. To make changes to non-editable donation fields, the donation must first be removed from the claim. Donation changes can then be made and the donation, if still claimable, can be included in a future claim.

At each stage you can Print or Download the claim in progress. You can also abort and Delete a claim up to this stage. Once all errors have been resolved and you've completed your review processes, click Finish review to proceed to the next stage.

You will be asked to confirm by clicking Finish Review on the pop up. Clicking Finish Review will 'lock' the claim to prevent further changes and the Gift Aid status of each donation in the claim is changed from Claim pending to Claimed.

Note that you can roll back a claim's status at any time - even for submitted claims - click Reset from the More options to roll it back to the pre-review stage. You may need to do this for a submitted claim if HMRC write advising of errors with a claim requiring correction and a resubmission.

The claim is now ready to for Download as a CSV file for manual submission to HMRC or to be uploaded directly to HMRC online using the Submit to HMRC option.

If you select to Download claim CSV the claim progress will update to Claim complete.

If, when downloading the claim CSV, the claim contains refunds, a pop up information message will explain that refunds are not included in the claim CSV file and that the refund amount shown must be manually added into the appropriate box on the HMRC Online page when making a manual submission. Once you have noted the refund amount, click Download CSV for produce the file ready for manual upload to HMRC online.

If you select Submit to HMRC, the Submit claim to HMRC pop up opens. Complete any missing details not already stored in your Giving module's settings and then scroll down the pop up and click Submit to automatically upload the claim to HMRC Online.

Once submitted, the claim progress will update to  Claim processing...

...and will update again to Claim submitted when the claim is accepted by HMRC. A date and time stamp will be added to confirm the successful submission. Processing will usually take a few moments - you can refresh the page or return to the claim page later to see if the claim in processing has been accepted successfully.

ChurchSuite considers any Completed claim to have also been submitted, as the system clearly doesn't know whether or not you have manually submitted the HMRC spreadsheet to HMRC outside of ChurchSuite.

Throughout the claim review stage, right through to after submission, the claim Statistics tab includes a helpful visual representation of the claim breakdown in graphs and charts, and a summary of the claim donations by fund and method and the Gift Aid thereon - ideal for posting accounting journals and identifying specific income accruals.

A full Changes log is maintained at the bottom of the claim 'view' page, so you can view the audit trail of claim progress and the User that made each change and when.

Claim rounding issues

ChurchSuite calculates Gift Aid on a donation-by-donation basis; however, HMRC calculates the amount of Gift Aid based on each giver's aggregate donations within a claim period. This can therefore result in unavoidable rounding differences between the total Gift Aid claim and donation Gift Aid reports in ChurchSuite vs. the actual Gift Aid amount you receive back from HMRC.

You can return to the Claims section at any time to continue working on a claim in progress. Claims with a Pending status are still under review. Claims with a Reviewed status have been finished but not yet submitted to HMRC. Claims with a Complete status have been downloaded for manual submission to HMRC. Claims with a Processing status have been submitted to HMRC but not yet been accepted. Claims with a Submitted status have been submitted to HMRC and been accepted.

The Claims index includes an Advanced Search to make it easier to find claims matching a Date range or particular Status.

Download options in more detail...

  • 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.

Reporting Gift Aid donations

To help with reconciliation of Gift Aid donations recorded in the Giving module and postings in your organisation's accounting software, the Gift Aid Donations report (located in the Giving module's Reports section) will be helpful. The report includes a Fund Summary with totals - which can be useful to posting month end journals - and all the transactional detail. Filter the report's results to view Gift-Aided donations within a range of Dates, by Fund, Method, Status and giver Tags. Click Generate to apply the selected filters. From this report you can also Communicate directly with the givers included in the results; or you can Print or Download the report.

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

Deleting a claim and its donations

You can easily roll back any completed or submitted claim to the pre-review stage and even delete the claim. (Donations are preserved when a claim is deleted and are therefore claimable in another claim). This may be necessary where HMRC have not received your claim for any reason and you now wish to re-submit a new claim, perhaps with additional claimable donations.

However, there may come a time where you have retained your historic submitted claims for long enough and now wish to delete those claims and all the donations within the claim. Note that HMRC requires claims and donation data to be retained for 6 years after the end of the tax year in which the claim relates. For example, a claim covering donations for the period 1st January 2005 to 31st January 2005 will be deletable 6 years from 5th April 2005 i.e. on 6th April 2011.

Working within the Claims section of the Giving module, click on the Date column to re-order the list so that your oldest claims are listed first.

For any claim that meets the '6 year' rule - and subject to your internal and any additional HMRC record-keeping requirements - a Delete action is surfaced on the claim's Action menu. In this example the claim date is 2nd May 2014, so this claim is deletable 6 years from 5th April 2015 i.e. from the 6th April 2021.

Selecting the Delete action will surface the delete confirmation informing you that proceeding will delete the claim and all donations linked in the claim except those donations linked to another claim where the donation's Gift Aid is subsequently refunded. Having first reviewed the claim to make sure you are happy for the linked donations to be deleted, select Yes, I'm absolutely sure and click Delete to complete the process.

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