Monday, 18 January 2010

Why Jersey Needs Gift Aid

I have said before, and I shall say it again, because it is the most imperative social truth of our age, that about one-third of the world is rich and two-thirds of the world is poor. By this I mean something very simple. In North America, in most of Europe, in Australia and New Zealand, and now in the Soviet Union, the great majority of the population get enough to eat and don't die before their time. That is what "riches" means, in a world whose harshness those of us born lucky don't willing admit.

In the rest of the world the opposite is true. The great majority of the population don't get enough to eat; and, from the time they are born, their chances of life are less than half of ours, These are crude words, but we are talking about crude things, toil, hunger, death. For most of our brother men, this is the social condition.

It is different from our social condition. That is one reason why there is a direct call upon our magnanimity. If we do not show it now, then both our hopes and souls have shriveled. It may be a longish time fore men at large are much concerned with hopes and souls again.

-C.P. Snow

Gift Aid, not to be confused with Live Aid or Band Aid, is a mechanism whereby the charity can claim extra money from the government when taxpayers make a donation.

It is extremely simple for the individual to do, and was introduced as part of a drive to encourage people to give to charities.

An example of how it works will suffice. If I am a taxpayer in the U.K., I can go online to the Red Cross site, and make a donation of £10. I then fill in my name, address, postcode , and tick a box to say that I am a taxpayer and want the donation to be Gift Aid. That is all that is needed. The Red Cross can then reclaim £2.50 from the tax authorities. It is as simple as that.

In Jersey, there are two mechanisms for charities to benefit from the taxpayer giving. One is the covenant scheme, whereby the person donating agrees to give a sum over more than four years. The other, which is an adjustment to that, allows for a single lump sum payment to be made over £100. These limitations restrict the amount which can be claimed back.

In addition, there is paperwork required, forms to be filled in.

Now the U.K. scheme can involve paperwork, but it also allows for an online declaration to be made. It encourages giving by anyone, and the humblest gift - the widow's mite - can also be a gift aid payment to the charity, only provided the widow pays tax. The declaration can be in writing, on paper, electronically on the internet, or by email, fax, mobile phone or text message. This is a 21st century scheme!

But the U.K. scheme is even better. Once a declaration has been made to a particular charity, it stands - a future gift does not require more forms to be filled in. The charity has the information on file, and does not need an extra form - again a contrast to Jersey.

One extra advantage - a gift aid declaration can be made verbally and recorded as long as the charity sends a written confirmation to the donor. This means that events such as Children in Need can take information from phone pledges in the U.K. and ask the donors if they want to gift aid the donation.

Sponsorship forms can have a single Gift Aid declaration at the top of the form, and a tick box to say the sponsors want to gift aid the funds. The full name and address of the sponsor are all extra that is required, with the sum pledged and collected.

The Jersey Law Commission Report on the Jersey Law of Charities recommended introducing Gift Aid in Jersey in November 2006. A revised report was produced in March 2009. It had the same recommendation.

At present, some Jersey charities have to go cap in hand to the States for grants, but with gift aid, they could much more easily become self-supporting.

Just consider how many events take place which raise money on sponsorship forms, how many donations are made in lieu of flowers when someone dies, how much the children in need, or the recent Red Cross fund raising could raise!
Isn't it time to change?
If you live in Jersey would like to support a campaign to introduce Gift Aid in Jersey, please join the Facebook group

Let's Introduce Gift Aid to Jersey


Jill Gracia said...

I would support this 100%. I have certain chosen charities and when living in the UK always chose the Gift Aid option.

In Jersey I just donate as and when, and as I am not in a position to part with large amounts of money it would be good to know that any charity would have the benefit of a scheme like Gift Aid.

David Rotherham said...

Yes: You have made the case well, and I shall support your campaign.

Anonymous said...

There's a movement to radically change California government, by getting rid of career politicians and chopping their salaries in half. A group known as Citizens for California Reform wants to make the California legislature a part time time job, just like it was until 1966.

Nick Palmer said...

Looks like you got good publicity on the Beeb...