How To Register for Gift Aid - Online Charity Registration

How to register for Gift Aid - online charity registration with HMRC for your Gift Aid number, who can register for Gift Aid, your HMRC charity reference number and Form ChV1.

How To Register for Gift Aid - Online Charity Registration

A step by step guide on how to register for Gift Aid that makes online charity registration with HMRC as pain free as possible.  In addition to how to register your charity for a Gift Aid number, I've included who can register for Gift Aid, how to find your HMRC charity reference number and how to notify HMRC of changed details - Form ChV1.  For how to claim Gift Aid, you need my other Gift Aid guide.

Who Can Register For Gift Aid With HMRC

Many think that you have to be a registered charity to register for a Gift Aid number, but that's not the case.  Unregistered charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) can also register to claim Gift Aid.

  • Any Charity can register with HMRC, unless your income is in excess of £5k and you've not yet registered with the Charity Commission.
  • CASCs aren't charities, but can claim Gift Aid and other tax reliefs.
  • Social Enterprises, such as CICs, cannot claim Gift Aid, unless they are a CASC.  Being a CASC is a tax status, not a legal structure.

Here's a list of the relevant tax reliefs, with links to more guidance.

How To Maximise Your Gift Aid Claims & Find More Funding

Complete the 30 min online health checks for Income and Finance & Resources to find if you're claiming all the types of Gift Aid you could be, plus all the other charity tax reliefs.  Plus, use Funding Finder, to find a huge range of grants and Help Finder to find lots of free fundraising support and companies that make donations.

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Register Your Charity Via The Government Gateway

However, to claim Gift Aid and other charitable tax reliefs, you first have to register with HMRC, via the Government Gateway.

Go to Gov.UK and click on the ‘Create sign in details’ link. You need to register as an 'Organisation', not yourself. Make sure you make a note of your Government ID number, password and recovery word. Simply follow the instructions.

Once you're in the HMRC system and it asks you what services you wish to register for, select 'Other' for Gift Aid.

Charity Online Gift Aid Registration

The online registration system times out after 15 minutes.  You can close your browser at any time, but your progress will only be saved up to the point where you last clicked ‘Save and continue’ and an unfinished application is only stored for 28 days from the last time it was saved. I've found that the best way to avoid losing any data is to have all the information to hand before I begin. Most of this will be in the pdf the Charity Commission sent you on submitting your registration.

  • Bank account details and financial accounts. Here's my guide to opening a free charity bank account. When entering your details, enter the sort code using the format shown on screen (45-67-89, not 456789) and don't put a comma in your estimated annual and actual income to date this year (10000, not 10,000).
  • Officials’ details, including dates of birth, addresses, telephone numbers and National Insurance numbers.
    • If the system refuses to accept a postcode, stating it's not valid. Leave the postcode box blank and enter your country in the country box instead (eg England).
      • I know it's the box to complete for an overseas address, but it works. Yes, I know that's silly, but it's what HMRC told me to do the first time it happened to me.
    • If you're like me and like things done properly, paste your postcode into line 3 of the address section.
    • Your Charity Commission copy of your application contains trustees' details, but not their phone numbers and the HMRC portal won't let you proceed without these, so have them to hand.
  • Registration number if you’ve registered your charity with a regulator.
  • Charitable objectives (sometimes called purposes) and benefits.

You are limited to 500 characters for each of the above, so may need to summarise down what's in your governing document.

  • Governing document (sometimes called a rulebook) - this explains how your charity is run.

Once complete, a page will display that shows you everything you've entered. It's a good idea to copy and paste this into a Word document, so you have a record. I also suggest making a record of your HMRC Reference Number, which you'll be given in the final screen.

Charity Gift Aid Registration Documentation

Once you've submitted your online application to register for Gift Aid, you'll be given an HMRC reference number, which you should add to copies of the documents below, to be sent to HMRC by post, within a set timescale.

  • Registration - notification of registration from your regulator.
  • Evidence of activities - basically, HMRC is looking for you to demonstrate that you actually exist (anti-fraud), so you could send documents, such as a business plan, minutes of trustee meetings, evidence of funding applications/donations, brochures or even a flyer, if that's all you have.
  • Governing document and any proposed changes.

If you’re missing any National Insurance numbers, remember to post a copy of each persons’ passport photograph page, along with proof of their home address.

The final screen no longer asks you for the supporting bank account details, but I suggest that you send these as well - Bank statements (3 months). If your bank account has been open less than 3 months, provide evidence from the bank that the account is open, such as the bank letter notifying you of this.

If in any doubt, I suggest you call the helpline - 0300 123 1073.

How Long Does It Take To Register for Gift Aid?

Inevitably, it takes time to get all the information you'll need to register for Gift Aid online but actually doing so should take no more than an hour or 2.  From there, it takes about 6 weeks to process most applications to register for Gift Aid. If more checks are needed or during busy periods, it may take longer.

Alternatives to Charity Gift Aid Registration

Sports Clubs

If you're a sports club and eligible, you can register for Gift Aid as a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC).  You can find everything you need to decide which would be best for you, by going to my Part 1 Registration Guide and scrolling down to CASCs in Section 2.

Charities Based Outside Of The UK

If you're outside the UK, but have UK donors, it is possible to claim Gift Aid without registering a UK charity. Find out more here.

It's also possible to create a UK charity that can benefit from UK and US tax reliefs, but it must be dual qualified. That might potentially be quite useful, but I suggest you probably need a lawyer - here's more.

How Do I Notify HMRC Of Changed Details - Form ChV1

Remember to advise HMRC of any subsequent significant changes in your charity details using ChV1. These relate primarily to changes in officials and bank account details - find out more here.

How Do I Find my HMRC Charity Reference Number?

To check if a charity is registered for Gift Aid, it will have an HMRC charity reference number on the letter issued by HMRC confirming recognition as a charity and may also be on other correspondence from HMRC Charities.  The HMRC Gift Aid reference number will start with two letters or an X and will include up to 5 numbers.  If you know that already and just want to find out what yours is, click here to contact HMRC Charities.

HMRC Gift Aid Guidance

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