Charitable giving

Gifts to charity can take many forms. Perhaps you are already making regular donations to one or more well known charities, coupled with one-off donations in response to natural disasters or televised appeals. In this special supplement to our guide we will focus on some of the ways you can increase the value of your gift to your chosen charities through the various forms of tax relief available.

Gift aid

Donations made under Gift Aid are made net of basic rate tax. This means that for every £1 you donate, the charity can recover 25p from HMRC. Furthermore, if you are paying tax at the 40% rate, you can claim further tax relief of 25p. Consequently, at a net cost to you of only 75p, the charity receives £1.25 - or, for a net cost to you of £100, your donation is worth nearly £167 to charity. If you are a 45% taxpayer, the additional tax reclaimed is 31.25p making a donation costing £100, net worth £182 to the charity.

A payment made in the current tax year can, subject to certain deadlines, be treated for tax purposes as if it had been made in 2013/14, provided you have not yet submitted your tax return. This may not be important to many people, but if you paid higher or additional rate tax in 2013/14 and expect to be in a lower rate band this year, a claim will allow you to obtain relief at last year's, higher rate. The application must be made on an original tax return, not on an amended return.

Payroll giving

You can make regular donations to charity through your payroll, if your employer agrees to operate the scheme.

The scheme operates by deducting your donation from your gross pay equal to the net cost to you of the monthly net donation you want to make - so as an example, if you want to donate £20 per month to a charity, your employer would deduct this and pay it to the scheme managers. This reduces the employee's tax for that month by £4. The employee has made a donation of £20 at a cost of £16. For higher rate and additional rate taxpayers, the saving is greater.

Gifts of assets

Not all donations need to be money. You can make a gift of assets, such as quoted securities or land and buildings, and the gift can score for a double tax relief. Any gain which would accrue on the gift is exempt from capital gains tax, and you are also entitled to income tax relief at up to 45% on the value of your donation.

You may have a shareholding that has lost so much value it is not worth keeping and yet be worth too little to pay for the broker's fees and stamp duty. Such shares may be donated to Share Gift. The timing can help crystallise a capital loss.

A final gift to charitable causes

Many people opt to include charitable bequests in their Will. There is now a new and lower rate of inheritance tax of 36% when gifts to charity represent 10% or more of the estate.

  Bequest below 10% (£) Bequest above 10% (£)
Net value of estate before bequest  1,000,000   1,000,000
Deduct: Charitable bequest  0  100,000
Net estate liable to IHT  1,000,000  900,000
Deduct: IHT exemption  325,000  325,000
Liable to IHT  675,000  575,000
Deduct: IHT @ 40%/36%  270,000  207,000
Net estate for distribution £730,000 £693,000

Thus in the above example, charitable causes benefit by £100,000 while the IHT reduces by £63,000 and the net amount available for distribution is only reduced by £37,000.

If you leave 10% or more of your estate to charity your rate of IHT reduces from 40% to 36%. Is now the right time to prepare or update your Will? Please contact us to discuss the planning options available to you.