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The Small Charitable Donations and Childcare Payments Bill is a government bill which completed report stage and third reading in the House of Commons on 15 November 2016 and is scheduled for second reading in the House of Lords on 12 December 2016. The Bill contains nine clauses, which principally focus on making changes to the gift aid small donations scheme (GASDS).

The GASDS is a scheme enabling charities and ‘Community Amateur Sports Clubs’ (CASCs) to claim gift aid style top-up payments on small donations of up to £20 in circumstances where it is not practical or feasible to obtain a gift aid declaration [such as cash donations collected in a charity bucket]. Unlike gift aid, which is a tax relief, the gift aid small donations scheme does not require individual donors to complete gift aid declarations. Subject to certain restrictions, eligible bodies can claim 25p in top-up payments for every £1 received. There is currently an annual claims limit of £8,000, which would result in a maximum of £2,000 in top-up payments for that year. 

The Bill would make a number of amendments aimed at strengthening and simplifying the operation of the scheme. For example, it would remove a requirement whereby charities and CASCs had to be in existence for the prior two tax years to benefit under the scheme, and would extend the eligible payment methods to include contactless payments as well as cash. It would also make changes to the schemes’ rules regarding community buildings and groups of connected charities. In addition, the Bill contained a small number of technical amendments to the tax-free childcare scheme which is scheduled to be rolled out across the UK in early 2017.

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