Charities and Gift Aid audits
Charities and Gift Aid audits

The following Private Client guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Charities and Gift Aid audits
  • Procedure
  • The audit

STOP PRESS: Finance Bill (No. 2) 2016 indicates that regulations will be introduced with effect from a date to be appointed to make provision for penalties of no more £3000 where there is a failure to comply with a specified requirement imposed by the regulations.

An investigation by HMRC of a charity would have once been of major concern but while they are still concerning HMRC now routinely select a number of charities each year to audit to ensure that the Gift Aid scheme is being administered correctly and the returns made are accurate. HMRC are at pains to point out that if a charity is picked it does not mean that they are concerned—although they obviously also choose charities that have given them concern.

Trustees have a personal responsibility, and liability, to ensure that all returns are accurate and submitted in a timely manner. Should their charity be chosen for audit they must ensure that they are represented in discussions with the nominated auditor.

According to HMRC they choose charities for audit both on a random basis but also on the basis of risk which would imply they pay careful attention to reports from external sources such as the Charity Commission.


HMRC have a window of opportunity in which to commence an enquiry. This is generally 12 months from the