Thursday, September 1, 2011
If you donate any items for sale and you are a UK income tax payer, please do complete a gift aid form, as it means an extra 28 pence for every pound raised when your donation is sold at no extra cost to you.
The process works on a bar code system. We take a sheet of bar code labels, all labels on a sheet having the same unique number. One label is stuck on your form and the others go on the price tags we put on your donations. When a donated item is sold, we scan the price tag at the till and the amount and donor number are recorded. During the night the till "phones home" and uploads details of everything scanned that day.
Once a reasonable sum has been recorded against your donor number, we print out and send you a letter telling you how much has been raised, and checking that you still wish to donate it to the branch. 24 days later (to give you a chance to demand your money!) we can put in a claim to HMRC for an amount equivalent to the tax you paid on that amount of income.
The need for the letters seems quite wasteful, but unfortunately they are a legal requirement if we want to operate the system, and there is a facility to avoid printing any which would cost more to post than the amount we would gain if we put in a claim.
It all sounds very complicated, but the degree of automation means it's actually harder to explain, than to do. Once the system has been running for a reasonable length of time, it should generate a steady amount of additional income as the gift aid forms come in and our claims go out to HMRC.