Gift Aid is a UK tax relief scheme which enables registered charities to reclaim tax on a donation made by a UK taxpayer. What that means practically is free money – Gift Aid is worth 25p for every £1 you receive from donors.
You can use Spektrix to track all of your eligible donations, and record whether each donor is happy to allow you to claim Gift Aid on their donation. You can also send your Gift Aid claims to HMRC directly using Spektrix.
In this article, we'll cover:
- What Gift Aid can be claimed on
- Setting up Gift Aid in Spektrix
- Taking a donation with Gift Aid
- Excluding a donation from an existing Gift Aid declaration
- Viewing a customer's Gift Aid declaration(s)
- Processing a Gift Aid claim using Spektrix
- Reporting, Customer Lists and Auto Tags
- Considerations when using Accounting Date
- Further reading
What Gift Aid can be claimed on
You can claim Gift Aid on any item which counts as a donation – in Spektrix terms, that means specific donations, but also any Memberships that you've set up to include a donation element, or tickets that include an optional donation.
For more information, see our articles on Donations and Funds and Setting Up Memberships.
Setting up Gift Aid in Spektrix
You can use Spektrix to do two things – track Gift Aid, and make claims. You don't have to use both of these functions; you could only use Spektrix to track Gift Aid and make your claims outside of Spektrix. If, however, you want to make claims as well, you'll need to set both tracking and claiming up.
Using Spektrix to track Gift Aid
To enable Gift Aid tracking, you'll need to have the Settings Administrator user role. Navigate to the Settings Interface, then Configuration > System Setup > Gift Aid and select the Enable tracking of Gift Aid Declarations option:
As soon as you select that option, Spektrix will begin tracking Gift Aid for any donations you receive. See the section below on taking donations to see how customers can make a Gift Aid declaration.
Using Spektrix to claim Gift Aid
To be able to use our integration with HMRC to claim Gift Aid, you'll first need to be registered with HMRC Online Services.
Once registered, the first thing to do is go to the Settings Interface, then Configuration > System Setup > Gift Aid as before, and select the Enable submission of Gift Aid Declarations via Spektrix option. Clicking this will bring up a new page where you can fill in further details. For the sake of ease, we'll take a look at this page in three sections, starting from the top.
Complete this section using your HMRC details – Charity Name, Charities reference, Username and Password. If you can't find these details, you'll need to get in touch with HMRC's support team directly.
You can click on the Test HMRC button to see if you have entered your details correctly.
Choose your Regulator, and fill in your Regulator Details if required. The Regulator's Number will have been assigned to you by the Charity Commission which your charity is registered with. You should be able to find this on the Charity Commission's website.
Authorised official details
Enter the details of the person in your organisation who who is registered with HMRC as the Authorised Official, then click the Save Configuration button to complete the process.
Once that is complete you will be able to make Gift Aid claims using Spektrix.
Donors who agree that Gift Aid can be claimed on their donations need to make a Gift Aid declaration – these should confirm the following:
- That they agree to Gift Aid being claimed
- That they are eligible for Gift Aid (i.e. they have paid the same amount or more in Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax in the current tax year).
A Gift Aid declaration gives a charity permission to collect the tax back from HMRC. There are three types of declaration, which can all be stored in Spektrix:
- Paper: when donors fill in a declaration form, this can be scanned and stored against the customer record in Spektrix
- Verbal: oral confirmations require details of the declaration to be given to the customer, which can be generated in Spektrix as an email or a letter
- Online: when donating online, ticking one of the options for Gift Aid counts as a declaration
HMRC requires you to keep a record of any Gift Aid declarations as they may need to check a donor's declaration (for full details, read the rules on the HMRC website).
Online and paper declarations don't require anything to be set up in Spektrix; however, verbal declarations generate either an email or a letter to be sent to customers.
Spektrix already contains standard versions of these, but you can upload customised versions of both the Verbal Declaration Email and Verbal Declaration Letter in Admin Interface > Document designs > Gift Aid.
When making a declaration, customers are presented with a message explaining the benefit of agreeing to Gift Aid. The default text is as follows:
“If you are a UK taxpayer, the value of your donation can increase by 25% under the Gift Aid scheme and at no additional cost to you.”
If you would like to amend this message or add any further information, please contact the Spektrix Support team who will be able to help.
NOTE: this message appears online along with the official HMRC copy about Gift Aid.
Taking a donation with Gift Aid
There are various ways in which donations can be made using Spektrix – for more information on making donations and setting up Funds, please see this article.
However you add a donation to the basket, whether online or in the Sales Interface, Spektrix will check to see if the customer making the donation already has a current Gift Aid declaration on their customer record.
- If the customer already has a current Gift Aid declaration (i.e. they have agreed that Gift Aid can be claimed on all future donations) Spektrix won't prompt them to make another declaration.
- If the customer does not have a current Gift Aid declaration, Spektrix will prompt them to make a new declaration, giving four options:
NOTE: it's not possible to permanently exclude a customer from Gift Aid eligibility – making a donation without a declaration only excludes that donation from Gift Aid. The reason for this is that customers' details and circumstances might change in future, so you wouldn't want to completely remove the possibility of claiming Gift Aid from that customer forever.
Customers need to choose one of these four options for whether to treat their donation as a Gift Aid donation or not:
- From today onwards and since X: gives customers the ability to backdate their declarations, as well as agreeing for Gift Aid to be claimed for any donations they make in the future. This defaults to four years in the past as you only have four years to make a claim according to HMRC
- From today onwards: allows customers to agree to Gift Aid for all future donations
- Today: sets all donations made that day as eligible for Gift Aid, but no others
- Continue without a declaration: treats that donation as ineligible for Gift Aid
Assuming the customer opts to make a declaration, clicking the Next button brings up the Details section. From here, if it's a Counter or Phone transaction, you can specify the declaration type and then choose how to support and confirm the declaration. Online declarations don't need any of this information to be provided.
The Details section looks slightly different depending on whether the customer is making a paper or verbal declaration.
Written declarations usually take the shape of a Gift Aid Declaration form, which you can upload to Spektrix here by selecting the Upload a document supporting this declaration option:
Alternatively you can choose the Provide details manually option which opens up a text field for you to fill in the customer's statement.
Verbal declarations normally require confirmation to be provided to the customer of their declaration, which you can generate in Spektrix as either a letter or an email – these options are provided here in addition to the two available for Paper declarations:
- Send details of this declaration to the customer as an email: allows you to send an email to the customer, generated from the email template in Admin > Document designs > Gift Aid.
- Generate details of this declaration to post to the customer: produces a mail merged letter for you to download, print off, and send based on the letter template in Admin > Document designs > Gift Aid
- Provide details manually about this declaration: opens a free text field where you can add details manually
- Upload a document supporting this declaration: allows you to upload files such as audio recordings to confirm a verbal declaration
Once the declaration details have been filled in, click the Ok button to save the declaration. You can then complete the transaction as normal.
Online, customers just need to click the Continue button to proceed to the checkout page.
Excluding a donation from an existing Gift Aid declaration
Once a customer has made a Gift Aid declaration that covers future donations, all donations they make will be automatically marked as suitable for Gift Aid to be claimed on them. However, should you need to, you can choose to exclude specific donations from Gift Aid at the point of purchase by selecting Opt out of gift aid from the dropdown menu under Reserve:
The donation can then be processed as normal; in the system, it will be marked as ineligible for Gift Aid and won't be included in any Gift Aid claims.
Viewing a customer's Gift Aid declaration(s)
Spektrix stores customers' Gift Aid declarations and displays them In the customer record in the Sales Interface. To find a customer's declaration, or check if they have made any previously, open their customer record and scroll to the Gift Aid section towards the bottom:
If the customer hasn't made a Gift Aid declaration then this section will be empty:
However, if the customer has made one or more declarations they will all be displayed here:
You'll see that each declaration has a value in the Claimable field. Declarations with Yes in this field are eligible for Gift Aid. If any supporting documents such as declaration forms or audio files have been uploaded, they will be shown in the Attachment column.
You can also make a new Gift Aid declaration here, independent of taking a donation, by clicking Make declaration. This will bring up the Gift Aid declaration pop-up.
Cancelling a customer's Gift Aid declaration
It's also possible to cancel a customer's Gift Aid declaration – you can do this from the same place where you view a customer's Gift Aid declaration(s). Cancelling a declaration actually adds a new declaration into the customer's record with a value of No in the Claimable column:
To cancel a declaration, click the Cancel declaration button and you will see a pop-up asking you to specify what to cancel:
You have two options available here:
- Stop treating gifts as Gift Aid Donations from today onwards: this will make sure Gift Aid won't be claimed on any donations going forward until a new Gift Aid declaration is given
- Stop treating gifts as Gift Aid Donations from today onwards and since DD/MM/YYYY: this will make sure Gift Aid won't be claimed on any donations going forward until a new Gift Aid declaration is given and will stop any backdated donations from being eligible for Gift Aid
Click Save Declaration and a new declaration marked as No in the Claimable column will be created.
Processing a Gift Aid claim using Spektrix
If you've set Spektrix up to make Gift Aid claims as well as tracking Gift Aid, you can submit your claims to HMRC at the click of a button!
You can do this in the Admin Interface under Other > Gift Aid Claims:
If you've never made a claim, this page will be empty. All claims you make subsequently will show up here, alongside the following information:
- Status: whether the claim was successful or not
- Start: the earliest date for donations to be claimed on
- End: the latest date for donations to be claimed on
- Created by: the user who made the claim
- Created on: the date that the claim was made
- Error details: details of anything which caused the claim to fail
You can check a claim before submitting it to HMRC by clicking the Preview Claim button. This replicates the process of making a claim, allowing you to choose the date range in the same manner.
Spektrix will output an Excel file containing details of all eligible donations. Included in this file will be details of any claims that are due to fail along with the reason for failure, allowing you to make any necessary amendments before submitting the actual claim.
To make your claim, you just need to click the Make claim button to begin the process of making a claim:
Enter the dates for the period you want to claim for (you can see what period your last claim was for on the main claims page), then click the Send claim to HMRC button – Spektrix will now find all of the donations with a valid declaration which have not already been claimed on, and submit the claim to HMRC.
- If the claim succeeds you will see a new line in the table of Gift Aid claims with a status of Succeeded, and an additional View donations button which will allow you to to view the donations on which the claim has been made
- If the claim fails it's likely that some of the data sent to HMRC is invalid. You will see a new line in the table of Gift Aid claims with a status of Failed and some information in the Error details field regarding why the claim failed. If you would like more information about this, please contact the Spektrix Support team to discuss further
Under rare circumstances you might find that your claim is marked as successful in Spektrix but you're later notified by HMRC that it was in fact unsuccessful. In that situation, please get in touch with the Spektrix Support team so that we can make any required updates to the claim.
NOTE: donors have 30 days in which they can cancel a Gift Aid declaration, which means you can't claim on donations that were made in the last 30 days. Spektrix enforces this by ensuring that each claim you submit can cover donations made between your first date of making automatic claims and 30 days before today's date.
Reporting, Customer Lists and Auto Tags
The report generated by previewing a Gift Aid claim contains a lot of useful information about the donations included in the claim. If you would like more detail, or need further information, please get in touch with the Spektrix Support team to discuss your requirements.
When running custom reports which look at data on donations, every donation has the following properties:
- Gift Aid Claimable: whether Gift Aid can be claimed or not on each donation
- Gift Aid Claimed: whether Gift Aid has been claimed or not on each donation
You can also run reports based on customers who have Current Gift Aid declarations; in other words, customers who have previously made donations and chose to allow Gift Aid to be claimed against any future donations.
When running these reports there are various output fields available which allow you to display details of customers' declarations:
You can also use Gift Aid claimed/claimable as metrics in Purchasing Segment in a Customer List, so you can report on who has made donations that can be claimed on:
- Gift Aid Claimable: this will find customers who have made donations and have a valid Gift Aid declaration; conversely, you can use the NOT rule to find customers who have made donations and do not have a valid Gift Aid declaration
- Gift Aid Claimed: this will find customers who have made donations that have had Gift Aid claimed on them; conversely, you can use the NOT rule to find customers who have made donations that have not had Gift Aid claimed on them
You can also use these metrics to create Auto Tags to track customers for any number of reasons. For example:
You decide that you don't want to take new declarations for very small donations made over the phone, as the cost of collecting these declarations individually could outweigh the benefit of making the claim (i.e. you'd need to pay to send a posted letter of confirmation for a verbal declaration).
Over time, however, a customer's small donations could mount up to the point that it becomes worthwhile to submit a claim for the whole sum. Using these metrics, you could set up an Auto Tag that tracks customers who've made a number of low-level donations in the last year that Gift Aid is not claimable against, then get in touch with them to ask for Gift Aid declarations that are backdated to cover their donation history.
You might create a Purchase Segment that:
- Looks for customers who made a donation over the phone in the last two years of less than £4.99 that isn't Gift Aid claimable:
- Click Next then, in Purchasing Statistics, set the Total value of items purchased to £25:
Then create a Customer Segment that:
- Looks for customers who have a current Gift Aid declaration (you'll need to un-tick the Only show commonly used criteria check box to find this metric):
You can then put these two Segments together, using the AND and NOT rules:
This Auto Tag would now apply to any customers who meet this criteria. You might want to use this Auto Tag as criteria for a Customer Group, visually flagging these customers to your box office team to encourage them to ask for a Gift Aid declaration.
Considerations when using Accounting Date
Accounting Date is a flexible date field that allows you to recognise income based on when it needs to be accounted for, if this is different to the date a transaction was confirmed. For more information on how this works, check out our complete article on Accounting Date. When you start using Accounting Date, you'll need to consider how Gift Aid declarations are added and maintained on the customer record, and how to take Accounting Date into account when making a Gift Aid claim.
Accounting Date and Gift Aid declarations
When a customer is prompted to make a Gift Aid declaration, anywhere that today is referenced refers to the day that the declaration is made, not the date of the transaction or the amended Accounting Date. It's really important to be aware of this if, for example, you're adding a donation that needs to be backdated by three days, and creating a new customer record.
Once the donation is in the basket, the declaration pop-up will appear. In this case, you must use the first option, From today onwards and since X, changing the pre-filled date to the date you’ll be using as the Accounting Date. This ensures the declaration covers the period of the new Accounting Date, marking the donation as eligible when claiming:
In this example, the donation was processed on 11th March 2021, but with the Accounting Date set to 8th March 2021. This means the declaration needs to be backdated to 8th March 2021, in order for this donation to be included in a Gift Aid claim.
When adding a backdated donation to an existing account, you can check if the customer has a declaration that covers this date by opening their customer record and scrolling to the Gift Aid section towards the bottom:
Here you can see the dates covered by any existing declarations under the Period heading:
If their existing declaration period does not cover your new Accounting Date, you'll need to contact the customer to see if they're happy to complete a new declaration which does. If they are, it might be the case that you'll want to cancel their current declaration and complete a new one that's inclusive of this date; see the section on cancelling a Gift Aid declaration for guidance.
Accounting Date and Gift Aid claims
When starting to use Accounting Date, you may wish to consider when your next Gift Aid claim may run. This is to ensure that your claim dates are as expected and there is no crossover between claim periods.
When claiming Gift Aid via Spektrix in the Admin Interface under Other > Gift Aid Claims, you’ll see the criteria set for the report refers to Accounting Date:
This means you can be confident that the date range set covers the Accounting Dates of any backdated donations within that period.
Hopefully this article has given you everything you need in order to get started tracking and claiming Gift Aid in Spektrix. We'd also recommend having a look at the following articles:
- FAQ - Gift Aid in Spektrix: answers to the most frequently asked questions about tracking and claiming Gift Aid in Spektrix
- Collecting Gift Aid Declarations on Converted Donations: a guide to using the Retrospective Gift Aid declaration form iframe to collect retroactive Gift Aid declarations online after a donation has been made
- Donations and Funds: a guide to setting up Funds and taking donations, both online and in the Sales Interface
- Setting Up Memberships: a guide to setting up Memberships in Spektrix, including those with a donation element upon which Gift Aid can be claimed
- Normal Tags and Auto Tags: a guide to creating Tags in Spektrix; this will come in handy if you decide to set up Auto Tags to track customers' donations and Gift Aid declarations
- Accounting Date: a guide to using Accounting Date to improve reporting on and recognising income as it is received
If you have further questions or would like to discuss Gift Aid in more detail, please contact the Spektrix Support team.