Facebook first launched charitable giving through its social media platform in the UK in November 2017.
It has become a powerful tool for both raising donations and community engagement as it allows individual Facebook users to set up fundraising pages on behalf of registered charities, which can in turn be shared widely throughout their social media networks.
Since its inception, however, charities have faced difficulty extracting good quality data from Facebook to support claims for Gift Aid.
In order to claim Gift Aid, charities must be satisfied that a number of conditions have been met by the donor:
- the donor must have paid sufficient income tax or capital gains tax in the year in which the donation is made to cover the tax treated as deducted from the donation;
- the charity must have a Gift Aid declaration made by the donor which covers the donation;
- the charity must have evidence that they’ve explained to the donor the personal tax implications of making a Gift Aid donation;
- there must be an audit trail linking the donation to the donor and their Gift Aid declaration.
- Further to the above conditions, a Gift Aid declaration must also:
- state the donor’s full name and home address;
- name the charity;
- identify the gift or gifts to which the declaration relates;
- confirm that the identified gift or gifts are to be treated as Gift Aid donations
Facebook charitable giving forms now include the standard worded Gift Aid declaration on the donation form, allowing the donor to opt-in to Gift Aid and confirm that they meet the required conditions. However, when charities come to export the transaction data required to calculate their claim, there are a number of similarly named fields which are populated in the report. Some of these fields relate to the fundraiser’s Facebook profile, some are from the donor’s Facebook profile, and other fields are pulled in from the donor’s donation form and Gift Aid declaration. Often a donor’s main profile details will be different to those submitted on the donation form and Gift Aid declaration. It is therefore important that charities use the fields relating to the information given by the donor in the form and declaration at the time of making the donation, and that they do not mistakenly claim Gift Aid in the name of a different individual. Charities must also be confident that they can trace their donation back to an eligible donor before they make a Gift Aid claim.
HMRC does recognise that donations made via Facebook can be eligible for Gift Aid and if a charity is satisfied that it has met all of the requirements, it may proceed with a claim. HMRC have cautioned though that claims should not be made where the charity cannot be confident they have the correct donor information. Facebook is working with HMRC to improve the quality of data that is collected via the charitable giving pages so that charities will have robust donor information to support Gift Aid claims in the future.
If you would like to know more about any of the points raised in this article or have another issue you would like to discuss, please contact us or speak to your usual PEM adviser.