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Gift Aid problems in lower tax bracket

by
13 October 2010

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From Alison Adcock

Sir, — The reform I should like to see in Gift Aid (News, 17 September) is one that would have helped me when, in the financial crisis, my dividends ended and bank interest on savings almost evaporated, with the result that, as my income shrank, so did my tax.

I wrote 40 letters, and still could not be sure I had cancelled enough Gift Aid pledges to be “safe” in believing that I had not pledged more tax than I had paid. Most charities did not acknowledge my letters to them — and I could understand why, as they are all suffering from loss of income; but since then I have had thank-yous for Gift Aid pledges I had cancelled, and I am worried about this.

To tick the Gift Aid box once commits you for all future contributions till you cancel your pledge, and when an emergency like that occurs and a substantial response is called for, you cannot make it, as you don’t pay enough tax to cover it. Nor is it easy, with many charities, to be sure you have sent your cancellation to the right address.

Finally, on Gift Aid forms the only boxes are (1) to sign up for Gift Aid, and (2) to say “I am not a UK taxpayer.” There is no box that says “I do not pay enough tax to cover you for Gift Aid,” or “All my tax is pledged already.”

It would help if Gift Aid on a standing order or direct debit covered all future payments on the order or debit, but one-off donations, whether to charities not otherwise supported or supplementary to an order or debit, affected only the particular donation.

ALISON ADCOCK
20 Mere Road
Oxford OX2 8AN

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