May 18, 2024

Charitable Giving and Tax Planning: Maximising the Benefits


Donating to charity is a fantastic way to support causes you care about and make a positive impact on society.

But did you know that you can also receive valuable tax relief when you give to charity? 

Strategic charitable giving and proper tax planning can be a win-win situation for both you and the organisations you support.

In this blog post, we are going to talk more about what benefits are available and the best way to maximise them.

What is Charitable Giving?

Charitable giving is not only a noble act but also a smart financial strategy that can be beneficial for both the donor and the recipient. 

In the UK, the government encourages this philanthropic behaviour by offering tax reliefs that can significantly enhance the impact of donations. 

Tax Benefits Of Charitable Giving

Understanding these tax benefits is crucial for effective tax planning and can lead to a more efficient way of supporting the causes you care about.

Let’s look at some of the common ones.

  1. Gift Aid 

One of the most powerful tools at a donor's disposal is Gift Aid. 

When a UK taxpayer donates to a registered charity, Gift Aid increases the value of their donation by 25%, as the charity can reclaim the basic rate of tax on the donation at no extra cost to the donor. 

For example, a £100 donation under Gift Aid is worth £125 to the charity. This means that your generosity not only goes further but also helps the charity to plan and budget more effectively.

How does Gift Aid affect your income tax?

For basic rate taxpayers, Gift Aid doesn’t change your tax bill, but if you're a higher rate taxpayer, there's an added benefit. You can claim the difference between the higher rate of tax (40% or 45%) and the basic rate (20%) on the total 'gross' value of your donation. 

So, if you donated £100, the gross donation would be £125, and you could claim back £25 (if you pay tax at 40%) or £31.25 (if you pay tax at 45%) on your tax return. This additional relief can be a significant incentive for higher-rate taxpayers to give more generously.

Income Tax Strategy
Income Tax Strategy
  1. Payroll Giving: Donating Directly from Your Salary

Another efficient way to give is through Payroll Giving, which allows employees to donate straight from their wages or pension before tax is deducted. This provides immediate tax relief and reduces the amount of income tax paid. It's a convenient way to give regularly and supports long-term planning for charities.

  1. Donating Land, Property, or Shares

Donating land, property, or shares can also be tax-efficient. Not only are such donations exempt from Capital Gains Tax, but you can also get relief on Income Tax. By donating to charity, you won't have to pay any Capital Gains Tax that might otherwise arise from selling the asset, and you can deduct the value of the gift from your taxable income, reducing your Income Tax liability for the year.

  1. Legacy Giving: Supporting Causes Beyond Your Lifetime

Leaving a gift to charity in your will, known as legacy giving, can reduce the Inheritance Tax (IHT) liability on your estate. If you leave at least 10% of your 'net estate' to charity, you can reduce the IHT rate on the rest of your estate from 40% to 36%, which can result in a substantial tax saving.

How Can Charitable Contributions Affect My Personal Tax Situation?

Charitable giving can significantly reduce your income tax and capital gains tax liabilities. Here’s how:

  • Income Tax Relief: When you make a Gift Aid declaration, your charitable donations are treated as having been made after deducting income tax at the basic rate. This reduction in taxable income can lower your tax bracket or increase your tax refund.
  • Capital Gains Tax: If you donate an asset to a charity, you won’t have to pay capital gains tax on any profit realised, which can be particularly advantageous for property landlords or those disposing of stocks.

Keeping Records: Ensuring You Maximise the Benefits

To take full advantage of these tax reliefs, it's essential to keep detailed records of all donations. This includes keeping track of the charities you've donated to, the amount, and the date of the donation. These records will be invaluable when claiming tax relief on your tax return or if queried by HMRC.

What Tax Advice Should Donors Consider Before Making Charitable Donations?

Before contributing to a charity, consider the following will maximise your tax benefits:

  • Consult a Tax Specialist: Professional tax advice is crucial to navigate the complexities of tax laws and ensure you’re making the most of available tax relief.
  • Plan Your Donations: Align your donations with the tax year—considering the deadline on 5 April 2024—to make timely claims on your tax return.
  • Understand the Limits: There are limits to how much you can claim in tax relief, depending on the amount donated and your income tax bracket.
Best Tax Advice
Best Tax Advice


Charitable giving is an integral part of tax planning that can yield significant benefits for both donors and charities. By leveraging the tax reliefs available, donors can maximise the impact of their contributions while also obtaining financial advantages.

It's a win-win situation that supports the valuable work of charities and rewards the generosity of donors. For more information or assistance on this don't hesitate to get in touch with our team at Aswatax. 

We have extensive experience in helping individuals and businesses navigate the complexities of UK tax law and maximise the benefits of their charitable giving.

Meet Omar

Omar is a Chartered Tax Advisor (a.k.a an expert on tax issues) and founder of ASWATAX. He regularly shares his knowledge and best advice here on his blog and on other channels such as LinkedIn.
Book a call today to learn more about what Omar and ASWATAX can do for you.

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