Did you think that accountants did not get excited over anything unless it had something to do with tax? Well, you are wrong. But I must admit that what I am getting excited about is not something that most “normal” people would consider exciting.
Helen and I have been in our present house for 27 years and we have been doing stuff like sorting out the kitchen and some of the bedrooms. When we moved in, we started to use the room off the kitchen as an office and that is still where I worked when doing work from home. But no more! That has been turned into a utility room and I am getting a spare bedroom at the other end of the house. Is Helen trying to tell me something?
Anyway, my new “office” is bigger, it has been insulated, painted and had a new carpet put down. Over the next couple of Sundays, I will be moving in, getting my IT sorted out, my boom microphone, lighting, green screen etc installed. That is, all the trappings of a modern accounting office, albeit this one is in our house. Now, isn’t that exciting?
I heard from a fellow conspirator this week. Paul Harvey at Market-That.com got in touch. Now, Paul has been a big part of some of our more memorable marketing projects and many of you will have seen (and heard) us at Spotlight in Inverness until Covid silenced us. Crossbows, Nerf guns, loudspeakers, smoke machines, Masterminds. We have done it all. We may have scared you off talking to us but you will definitely have known we were there. We don’t do “a couple of people looking bored behind a table with a few leaflets”. That is not our style. Role on the next event where we can do what we like to do.
Did you see the videos that Paul made with us about the tax trolls? All done on a shoestring but great fun. They were filmed on a mobile phone on exotic locations around the Travis Perkins builders merchant yard at night and along Shore Street in Inverness. We seem to have mislaid our smoke machine.
Anyway, Paul got in touch because he had been asked to sign a Gift Aid declaration when handing over a donation to a charity. He thought the whole process was confusing.
So, just in case any of you share his confusion, here it is in a nutshell.
If you give money to a charity, you can claim tax relief against tax you have paid on your income. But, that is too simple for HMRC and it involves them processing your claim. So, they introduced Gift Aid which means that you get to keep part of the donation you are making. That is how you get your basic rate tax relief. So, if you want to make a donation to say, Mikeysline in Inverness, of £25, you pay them £20 and keep the £5 as your tax relief. But you have donated £25, and that is what the charity receives, but they get £20 from you and £5 from HMRC.
You actually only pay £20.
Most people do not think about this and just decide how much they will actually pay Mikeysline or some other charity. But as long as you have paid tax on your income, the charity can still claim their top-up. Given that this amounts to 25% of the money they received from you, you can understand why they are so keen for you to sign the declaration.
If you are a higher rate taxpayer, keep track of your gift aid payments because you can claim the extra tax relief through your tax return.
So, really, unless you just do not pay any tax personally, you should always sign the Gift Aid declaration.
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Alan E Long
The Long Partnership