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It’s great if your business is in a financial position to donate to charity – particularly if you have a few in mind you’re passionate about. Making a donation can also have tax benefits for your business too, making it a win-win!

Let’s go through ways you can donate to charity and receive tax relief for your business.

Yes – there are ways both sole traders and limited companies can claim tax relief when donating to charity, although it is much easier for a limited company to do so, which we’ll explain next!

This is a bit more complicated to do as a sole trader or partnership than if you were a limited company, and that’s because a charity donation won’t count as part of your day-to-day costs.

This means you can’t claim a charitable donation as a tax-deductible business expense. You can still donate to charity from your business bank account though if you wish, and record this as either a non-business transaction or personal ‘drawings’.

HMRC will see it as an individual donation rather than a business one. If you’re a higher-rate or additional-rate taxpayer, you’ll be able to claim tax relief if you use the likes of Gift Aid, either through your Self Assessment, or by contacting HMRC and asking them to amend your tax code.
 

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What is Gift Aid?

You’ve most likely heard of charities asking you to tick the ‘Gift Aid’ box if you’re a UK taxpayer, and that’s because when you do, the government make a small contribution on top of yours (but only if you qualify). Completing the declaration confirms you’re eligible, so your charity of choice can then claim their extra donation – which is currently an extra 25p for every £1 you give.

Claiming tax relief on Gift Aid donations

Gift Aid allows higher rate taxpayers to claim tax relief on any of their charitable contributions. The charity is allowed to claim back the basic rate (which is 20%), leaving you eligible to claim tax relief on 20-25% of the donation depending on whether you’re in the higher (40%) or additional (45%) rate bracket.

For example,

Let’s say you’re a higher taxpayer and donate £50 to a local charity. You confirm that you’re eligible for Gift Aid, so they can claim an extra 25p per £1 of your donation, meaning the amount they receive has gone up to £62.50 at no extra cost to you.

Because you’re a higher rate taxpayer, you’re able to claim 20% of your donation as tax relief, reducing your income tax bill by £12.50.

You can make donations to charity through your limited company – just ensure you keep any supporting documents in regard to the donation so it can be recorded in your accounts as a business expense.

Donating to charity through your limited company is tax efficient because it reduces your profits, and lower profits mean you’ll pay less Corporation Tax – similar to when you claim other business expenses.

Limited companies pay less Corporation Tax when they give the following to charity:

  • Money
  • Sponsorship payments
  • Equipment or trading stock
  • Property, land, or shares
  • Employees (this is where your company transfers an employee to work for a charity, known as secondment)
You’ll claim tax relief by deducting the value of your donation from your business profits before tax.

 
If you donate land, property or shares to charity, you can get tax relief on both your Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax.

Payments your limited company make that don’t qualify

There are some payments your limited company may make that don’t qualify; these include:

  • Loans that’ll be repaid by the charity
  • Any donations made on the agreement the charity will buy property either from your company or anyone associated with it
  • Payments distributed from company profits, for example, dividends

If your limited company is given something in return for its donation, for example tickets to a football game, the gift must be below a certain value.
 

Donation amount Maximum value of benefit
Anything up to £100 25% of donation
Between £101-£1,000 £25
£1,001 and above 5% of the donation (the maximum is £2,500)

 
This applies to any person or company connected with yours – including close relatives. If you receive a benefit related to your company, your donation will be classed as a sponsorship payment.

Yes – they can do this via a payroll donation scheme. This is where you (the employer) allow your employee to make automatic donations from either their monthly salary or pension contributions. The donation amount will not be subject to tax, but they will still pay National Insurance contributions.

How much tax relief they get depends on which tax bracket they’re in. For example, to donate £1 they’d pay:
 

Basic rate taxpayer 80p
Higher rate taxpayer 60p
Additional rate taxpayer 55p

If you’ve donated to a charity as a sole trader or business partnership and you’re eligible to receive tax relief, you can include this when you fill out your Self Assessment Tax Return. If your limited company has donated to charity, you’ll include this information on your Company Tax Return.

It’s important to ensure you keep records of all donations made, in case HMRC ask to see them!
 
Learn more about our online accounting services for businesses. Call 020 3355 4047 to chat to the team and get an instant online quote.

About The Author

Rachael Johnston

A creative content writer specialising across business, finance and software topics. I have a love for all things writing, and creating engaging, easy to understand content that helps everyday people! Learn more about Rachael.

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