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National Trust and Gift Aid

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Robin Graham16/02/2019 23:41:40
566 forum posts
126 photos

I'm sure I'm not alone among you in visiting National Trust properties from time to time. I've got used to the hard sell on the ticket desk - you should take out membership , go on, go on, go on, (shades of Mrs Doyle), but eventually I escape after signing the Gift Aid tax refund thing. But now it seems that I have to pay NT an extra pound for the privilege of allowing them to reclaim my tax. I'd be OK with putting a quid or so into a box, but I don't like that pressure. Is this a good way of fundraising?


Richard brown 117/02/2019 06:54:07
98 forum posts
30 photos


lm no expert but I think the other way they could claim it is if they give you a years free entry ( like the tank museum). But as they don't want to give you that then I think you make a donation. They don't get gift aid from me for this reason. But tank museum and the others do get it from me.


Michael Gilligan17/02/2019 07:40:43
13559 forum posts
586 photos

Here's their 'explanation' : **LINK**

... also at : **LINK**


Frankly though, I still don't understand how they are playing the scheme.



Edit: This, published in 2004, may help :

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 17/02/2019 07:51:18

Sean Cullen17/02/2019 08:09:16
46 forum posts
7 photos

At Hollycombe we used to charge the extra for gift aid, but have found it far more effective to go the free return admission for a,year. More people with up for that and and returning visitors increase income in the cafe and shop.

V8Eng17/02/2019 09:09:12
1311 forum posts
27 photos

It is not just the NT who do this because the rules making them charge extra or give a years entry are imposed by our Government.

I did ask at one privately owned property and got a full explanation about why they had to charge extra to obtain Gift Aid on the entire admission cost.

If anyone wants to trawl through the rules I have put a link to the relevant Gov’t information below.



Edited By V8Eng on 17/02/2019 09:24:54

Edited By V8Eng on 17/02/2019 09:30:54

Neil Wyatt17/02/2019 10:35:32
16257 forum posts
679 photos
74 articles

Having been very involved with Gift Aid in the past, I must admit I think it has suffered 'mission creep'.

It was meant to be on donations but it very rapidly spread to cover membership 'fees' and 'admission costs'. There are technical arguments about whether or not things like magazines are a membership benefit or part of a charity's educational work. It's harder to see how paying to get into an attraction you can't visit for free is a 'donation'.

The extra is supposed to introduce that element of 'donation'.

There are some interesting twists many are not aware of:

  • If you don't pay tax, you can't gift aid.
  • You can claim tax relief on charitable donations, but if you do you can't gift aid them. This is really only a practical issue with big donations.
  • In charity shops they increasingly have the gift aid on the donation rather than the purchase; this seems to be to be more in the spirit of the system, as it's the donor whose tax it comes out of, not the purchaser who gets the benefit of the goods.

I feel the real issue is that Gift Aid was never properly thought out; it would have been far simpler to zero-rate all or most charitable activity and this would have had been easy to implement at similar cost to the treasury. For small charities VAT registering would have been no harder than handling gift aid.



Mike Poole17/02/2019 11:03:08
2016 forum posts
46 photos

If you are fortunate enough to be a higher rate tax payer then you can claim the difference between the 20% the charity claim and the higher rate of 40% at present. Keep a record of your gift aid donations and put in a claim.


blowlamp17/02/2019 11:19:22
1196 forum posts
82 photos

Just say NO! indecision

If you happen to believe in the tax system, then it seems that every tax-pound avoided by the so called National Trust, must be made up by others elsewhere in the system.


FMES17/02/2019 13:51:28
595 forum posts
2 photos

Why not become a member then and for the rest of the year you get into any venue for nothing, we save pounds.

Same with English Heritage, which also covers Scotland as well.


Edited By FMES on 17/02/2019 13:57:08

SillyOldDuffer17/02/2019 14:27:36
4531 forum posts
971 photos

The reason I don't do gift aid is you have to give them all your details. These are then sold to other charities, who, because you have financially supported one good cause, will target you. This can be a worse than a nuisance. Vulnerable people, either soft-hearted or perhaps suffering from Alzheimer's, are bombarded with persuasive requests for money. This can be very upsetting for them or their carers. The same information is useful to criminals, and too many of those collecting personal data legitimately are leaking it.

Now I only give anonymously.


John Haine17/02/2019 15:19:46
2576 forum posts
133 photos

If they pass on your details to other charities without your express consent then they are breaking the law, specifically the GDPR regulations, and given the size of the fines they would face they aren't going to do this.

martin perman17/02/2019 19:46:37
1614 forum posts
67 photos

today I visited a local museum and politely declined gift aid for the reasons above.

Martin P

Mike Poole17/02/2019 20:11:21
2016 forum posts
46 photos

I regularly take the gift aid option and have not experienced any adverse contact.


Neil Wyatt17/02/2019 20:29:28
16257 forum posts
679 photos
74 articles

When I ran a charity we consciously decided against data/list sharing with other charities - even before it became controversial.


V8Eng17/02/2019 20:40:32
1311 forum posts
27 photos

Having a Domain Name registered means I have several email addresses at that domain for different uses, so I can normally see if an email address has been passed on without permission.

Charites that I donate to using Gift Aid do not show up as as a problem with email or other methods of contact.

Edited By V8Eng on 17/02/2019 20:50:39

Martin Whittle17/02/2019 20:53:17
77 forum posts
9 photos

'If you are fortunate enough to be a higher rate tax payer then you can claim the difference between the 20% the charity claim and the higher rate of 40% at present. Keep a record of your gift aid donations and put in a claim'

Also on 17/02/2019 20:11:21:

'I regularly take the gift aid option and have not experienced any adverse contact. I regularly take the gift aid option and have not experienced any adverse contact'


+1 I agree completely. I have not had any problems with any charities that I have gift aided to; I also believe that the the tax relief for higher rate taxpayers is a good incentive for you to donate - and to that ends it is a good way of making the government donate to your favourite charity. devil

Just enter the total value of any donations on your tax return


1 Edit for spelling!

2 Why does system change font/size?

Edited By Martin Whittle on 17/02/2019 20:55:01

Edited By Martin Whittle on 17/02/2019 21:05:29

V8Eng17/02/2019 21:02:10
1311 forum posts
27 photos

I prefer to think of it as getting some more of my money to my favourite charities!

Edited to prevent politics creeping into my post.

Edited By V8Eng on 17/02/2019 21:06:57

Robin Graham17/02/2019 23:37:37
566 forum posts
126 photos

Thanks for replies - I now (sort of) understand why the NT have to impose this extra charge and also why they are so keen to get people to become members. Looking at the rules on the government site V8Eng linked to (yep, I'm that sad!) the membership fee is unambiguously a charitable donation. However, the guidance the document gives in the case of voluntary donations in excess of entry charges seems to me less clear.

Entry fees to visit and view your charity property don’t qualify for Gift Aid because they are not a gift. But a voluntary donation that allows visitors to view your property may qualify for Gift Aid.

Donations qualify when they:

  • are 10% or more than the normal admission fee, or
  • allow admission for at least 12 months

OK, what's happening is that if I give the NT £11 instead of paying the £10 entrance fee that's a donation and they let me in for free. Fine. But later on in the same section:

You’ll need to clearly advertise their normal entry fee and make it clear to all visitors that they will be allowed entry when they pay the lower admission charge if they choose not to make an additional 10% voluntary donation.

To me that says that the voluntary donation is the 10% - I can't see how the phrase 'make an additional 10% voluntary donation' can be construed otherwise in the context of the sentence. Why not say 'make a voluntary contribution exceeding the entry fee by at least 10%' if that's what they mean?

Nitpicking I know, I'll pay the quid, and get me coat.



Edited By Robin Graham on 17/02/2019 23:38:30

Speedy Builder518/02/2019 06:34:52
1790 forum posts
127 photos

have you ever wondered why you have to present your boarding card to buy goods in the duty free at airports? Apparently that is a VAT fiddle the shops are all onto.

John Haine18/02/2019 07:50:10
2576 forum posts
133 photos

Since the scandal about that a couple of years back they will not insist on seeing your boarding card.

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