Making donations to Ukraine in the right way could provide more money but be aware of scams

Thousands of people are donating to charity to help the suffering that has been inflicted on the citizens of Ukraine but there are ways to ensure that donations are maximised and reach the right people, say leading tax and advisory firm Blick Rothenberg

Stefanie Tremain, a director at the firm said: A lot of people are watching the events in Ukraine with increasing concern and sadness, and many of us want to help in whatever way we can. For most, this will mean donating items such as clothes and blankets or making cash donations and there are a couple of ways to make sure your donation is maximised and reaches the right people.”

She added: “Anyone who pays tax in the UK should tick the box to make sure their donation is made under the Gift Aid scheme. If a donation is made under Gift Aid, the government will top up the value of your donation by 20%. So, if you donate £10, the charity will receive £12.50 at no further cost to you. Gift Aid works on the basis that the donor will pay at least enough UK tax (either income tax or capital gains tax) to “frank” the top up amount. If you do not pay enough tax, you should not tick the Gift Aid box. If you do claim Gift Aid and then do not pay enough tax in the tax year, you will need to pay the “top up” back to HMRC.”

Stefanie said: “Gift Aid is only available for UK or EU charities that meet the UK definition of a charity. If you are considering donating to a Ukrainian charity, maybe consider whether there is a UK/EU registered charity that will benefit the same cause but will maximise your donation.”

She added: “If you have recently made donations and did not claim Gift Aid but think you should have, you can contact the charity and ask to make the claim retrospectively.”

Stefanie said: “Sadly, in times of need, unscrupulous people take advantage of people’s desire to help can and set up fake websites and scams. Scams can be extremely convincing and could be a text or email asking for a donation, including a link that takes you to a website impersonating a genuine charity. Whilst genuine fundraisers are using platforms such as GoFundMe, including the Help Ukraine Emergency Appeal, there may also be fake pages set up which you could contribute money to in error.”

She added: “It is important to check you are donating to genuine charities such as (among others) UNICEF, Save the Children, the Red Cross and Action Aid.

“By making sure you find the legitimate website rather than reacting to an unsolicited text or email, you can ensure your money goes to the right people who need it. Giving platforms will also have guidance on their websites on how to determine that a fundraiser is genuine so if you are unsure, just have a quick read before pressing the donate button.”

Stefanie said: “Many employers and pension providers run Payroll Giving schemes, which means you can make donations straight from your gross salary or pension. Donations made under Payroll Giving do not qualify for Gift Aid, but they do ensure that donations will be made to genuine registered charities.”

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