The amount of Gift Aid paid out on charitable donations has risen significantly for the first time in three years, according to new government figures. HM Revenue & Customs’ provisional data for the year April 2018 to March 2019 shows that the amount of Gift Aid claimed by charities rose to a record £1.35bn, up £90m from the year before, from eligible donations worth £5.41bn.

Total tax relief for charities, including rates relief and tax repayments, rose to a record high of £3.79bn, up from £3.68bn the year before. Reliefs for individuals, including inheritance tax and higher rate relief on Gift Aid and covenants, rose from £1.50bn to £1.53bn, which is lower than the 2016/17 record of £1.61bn. This means the total relief for charities and individuals has risen to its highest ever amount of £5.32bn, up from £5.18bn the previous year.

Business rates still represent the most valuable source of rates relief for charities, rising from £2.16bn to £2.22bn.

The Charity Tax Group welcomed the positive figures, which it said showed “the continued importance of tax reliefs to charities”. However, chair John Hemming said it was “important to remember that charities do still pay a lot of tax, including significant amounts of irrecoverable VAT”.

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