Freelance Fundraiser’s Jottings

22 April 2008

Txt donations – the VAT dilema

For years the Institute of Fundraising and major charities have been trying to get the cost down of making donations via TXT on your mobile. One of the last major hurdles is VAT, as the mobile phone companies say they can’t distinguish between the various premium-rate lines they operate.

The HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs) stated 2 years ago that VAT was not chargeable on text donations, but the phone companies are charging charities an estimated £1m a year in VAT. Neither are they then returning the money in the form of a corporate donation.

However, at last the HMRC and the telephone companies have met and begun discussions on how to get round this problem. It would appear that all the phone networks are in favour of the no VAT charge, but they claim it is a very complex business and there will be no quick fixes to it.

We will have to wait and see if the phone companies follow through their words with real actions, in the meantime, try and choose a more cost effective way to donate to your favourite charities, preferably one that lets you Gift Aid your donation as well. That way, your £1 is worth £1.28 to the charity, which is better than losing 17p in unnecessary VAT!

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