Tax relief means more for charity

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PEOPLE responding to the Africa in Crisis appeal can effectively increase the size of their donations by a third by taking advantage of the tax relief offered on some forms of charitable giving.

These schemes require some planning and are not designed for small spontaneous donations.

And a spokeswoman for the seven charities involved in the appeal says that maximising the extra income from tax relief is 'a low priority' in comparison with publicising the appeal.

Tax-efficient donations can be made in several ways - by setting up a four-year covenant or a one- off deposited covenant, by joining a Give as You Earn scheme through an employer or by using the Gift Aid scheme. Gift Aid is designed for one-off donations, but the minimum amount is pounds 400.

Four-year covenants require the donor to make four annual donations to the charity of his or her choice. If you pay, for example, pounds 75 a year, the Inland Revenue will credit the charity with another pounds 25 in recognition of the tax relief.

The Charities Aid Foundation offers a scheme which accepts covenanted deposits but is arranged like a bank account so that the donor can split the money between a number of charities.

When the covenant is set up and the money deposited, the CAF collects tax relief and adds it to the account. It provides a cheque book for donations.

Although the Africa in Crisis appeal is not promoting tax-boosting schemes, it will accept them. It will accept CAF account cheques and can arrange that donations of pounds 400 or more are channelled through the Gift Aid scheme.

Charities Aid Foundation: 48 Pembury Road, Tonbridge, Kent, TN9 2JD (tel: 0732 771 333).

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