Reclaiming Gift Aid through ChurchSuite (UK only)
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Top Tip! 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 uploading and submitting claims online, and these same login credentials can be optionally added to the Giving module's settings so that ChurchSuite can authenticate with HMRC Online Services each time a Gift Aid claim is submitted directly from the claim page in ChurchSuite. Adding these details to your Giving module settings will save you from needing to type the login details 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, including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man).
Preparing and submitting a Gift Aid claim
Working within the Claims section of the Giving module click Add claim.
On the Add claim pop-up, and 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" and 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 produce claims based on selected 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 over-claimed (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, and 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 are locked and cannot be changed. 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 report or Download PDF. 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.
If there are donations included within the claim where the donation has a Gift Aid split, but the giver is not a couple, you will need to remove these donations from the claim. Dismiss the review pop-up, remove the affected donations from the claim and then complete the review again.
Note that you can roll back a claim's status at any time - even for a Submitted or Completed claim - 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 advises of errors with a claim requiring correction and resubmission. Never delete a reset claim that has been submitted, unless HMRC advises that the claim was rejected. Deleted claims cannot be recovered!
The claim is now ready for submission to HMRC. Choose Download claim CSV to export a CSV format file ready for manual submission to HMRC via the Government Gateway, or choose Submit to HMRC to upload the claim directly to HMRC Online.
When downloading the claim CSV, and if the claim contains refunds, a warning message will alert you 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 to produce the file ready for manual upload to HMRC online.
If you select Download claim CSV the claim progress will update to Claim complete.
If you select Submit to HMRC, the Submit claim to HMRC pop-up opens. Complete any missing credentials not already stored in the 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 be updated for Claim processing...
The claim status will update again to Claim submitted once it is accepted by HMRC. A date and time stamp confirm the successful submission. Acceptance by HMRC typically only takes 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 doesn't know whether you have manually submitted the 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.
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 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. Note also that HMRC payouts may also include an element of interest accrued on eligible claims.
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 to a "Claim CSV" ready for manual submission to HMRC. Claims with a Processing status have been submitted to HMRC but have not yet been accepted, and claims with a Submitted status have been submitted to HMRC and accepted. The Gift Aid total shown is the net of refunds amount - the Donations column has coloured pills to distinguish the number of claimable donations and the number of refunded donations.
Claim 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.
Claim CSV format
By default, the Claim CSV is output in HMRC format, which must be used when producing a claim file for HMRC but note the Custom format that can be used for non-HMRC purposes...
...to choose the Giver and Custom Fields included or excluded from the claim file, and whether the donations are aggregated for each giver or listed individually. In addition to
For example, you can produce an anonymised claim CSV file by unticking and excluding the giver Name field from the file, or you might find a non-aggregated file helpful for donation reconciliation purposes.
Reporting Gift Aid donations
To help with the reconciliation of Gift Aid donations in the Giving module and the 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 for posting month-end journals - and all the transactional details. 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 also be used.
Deleting a claim
You can easily roll back any completed or submitted claims 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 when you have retained your historically 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 to which the claim relates. For example, a claim covering donations for the period 6th April 2014 to 5th April 2015 that was submitted on 21st April 2015 will be deletable 6 years from 5th April 2016 (the end of the tax year in which the claim submission date exists) i.e. on 5th April 2022.
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 Actions.
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.