Comments: Gift Aid declarations – a helpful concession by HMRC

I hope that when churches re-print their gift aid envelopes they will discontinue the practice of putting the gift aid declaration on the outside of the envelope as that requires parishioners to disclose whether or not they pay tax and for those in poverty who don't pay tax it can be an embarrassment.

Indeed, I dislike the modern use of gift aid envelopes on the collection plate altogether since, when the collection is blessed, all parishioners ought to be able to see the gifts being offered to the Lord in their totality. It also means that a record is being kept of how much each parishioner has given and that seems wrong.

Personally, I don't think the extra 20% income is sufficient to offset the harm caused by the use of gift aid envelopes during collection in services.

Posted by Kate at Wednesday, 11 November 2015 at 3:17am GMT

In our situation these envelopes are only used for occasional donors, or money offered by visitors.

The regular givers in the congregation (who use envelopes) normally have a FWO envelope (which just has a number on it). The only person that knows the correspondence between the individual and the number is the Gift Aid administrator who records the information and amounts for the purposes of reporting to HMRC.

@kate: when the collection is blessed, all parishioners ought to be able to see the gifts being offered to the Lord in their totality.

Which is not the case when people give via standing order or bank transfer. Some people think that these people should put an empty envelope in the plate as not to draw attention to the fact, or to discourage people from thinking that they are not giving at all!

Last Sunday's gospel may apply.


Posted by Kennedy at Wednesday, 11 November 2015 at 9:50am GMT

Other churches simply do not take up a Sunday collection in the service. Regular church attendees/members are encouraged to give by direct debit. Visitors are asked not to feel obliged to give, but if they want to there is a plate at the back after the service.

I think I like that way best...

Posted by Alastair Newman at Wednesday, 11 November 2015 at 1:07pm GMT

It is good to give. It is essential for our spiritual health to give. We are a society of considerable wealth, most of us are in the top 1% in global terms, and the only way to stop such riches rotting our souls is to give some of it away.
The cult of secrecy that some would prefer is simply to protect the guilty. We may need that accommodation to help some give, but let's not make such a grubby compromise into some high principle.
Please give whether your gift is known or not (it's always known to God) and don't think there must be a pure way of giving. Give to the church and give elsewhere. Give to charities and to individuals. Be generous, the CofE suggests 5% to and through the church, which leaves another 5% at least to other causes.
Give and don't count the cost and don't fuss about confidentiality!

Posted by RevPeterM at Wednesday, 11 November 2015 at 4:34pm GMT

And whatever you give, please, PLEASE, write your postcode legibly on the envelope! #Treasurer

Posted by Laurence Cunnington at Wednesday, 11 November 2015 at 7:29pm GMT

"The cult of secrecy that some would prefer is simply to protect the guilty. We may need that accommodation to help some give, but let's not make such a grubby compromise into some high principle."

I don't think anyone here is advocating for a "cult of secrecy". I don't think anyone is suggesting anything "grubby" either.

Do you think that it is only the shame of a public collection plate which enforces some to give?

I've seen that taken to extreme and it's nasty; really nasty. In a Tanzanian church I attended when I lived there each family attending the church was expected to give a certain amount of money to the church every month (let's say it was 2000 shillings, I can't remember).

At church services there would be an announcement as to which families had paid their "dues" for that month and from which families money was still "owing". I can remember it so clearly: "M Mosha [family]: 1000 shillings, bado [not yet (Kiswahili)] 1000 shillings".

Sorry, but that sort of shaming is a disgusting way to encourage giving.

Posted by Alastair Newman at Thursday, 12 November 2015 at 11:40am GMT

Well, RevPeterM, all I will say is that if I visit a church which uses GiftAid envelopes, I don't give because I feel that identifying the source of gifts is profoundly un-Christian

Posted by Kate at Thursday, 12 November 2015 at 6:57pm GMT

Churches have to make it easy to give. When we do baptisms outside of the main service we hand out specially printed envelopes along with the order of service when people arrive. They say "My gift in thanksgiving for the baptism of ............." They have proved a very popular way of giving, people do like writing the child's name on the envelope, and they like it that others can't see what they give. We simply leave a plate at the back (or, best of all, get a youngster to hold it). Occasionally, if they've not brought money, people take the envelopes home and bring them back another time. We also hand out special envelopes for weddings, but not at funerals.
Our giving from occasional offices has more than doubled. (But I will check the gift aid wording)
Simple, popular and effective.

Posted by Nancy Goodrich at Friday, 13 November 2015 at 8:07am GMT
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