I am advised by Revenue that Section 848A of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 provides for a scheme of tax relief on donations to eligible charities and other approved bodies.
Revenue has also confirmed to me that all schools providing education, based on a programme prescribed or approved by the Minister for Education and Skills, are approved bodies for the purposes of the scheme and any refunds made during 2013 are related to donations made in 2012 and/or the previous three years.
The precise arrangements for allowing tax relief on donations made in 2012 and earlier years varied depending on whether the donor was a PAYE only taxpayer, a chargeable person subject to self-assessment, or a company. For a PAYE only donor, the relief was paid directly to the eligible charity or approved body on a 'grossed up' basis, based on a claim submitted by the body in question rather than by the individual PAYE donor. In the case of a self-assessed donor, the individual personally claimed the relief at the applicable rate as there was no 'grossing up' arrangement in place for the self-employed sector. In the case of a company, it claimed a deduction for the donation as if it were a trading expense.
The scheme was amended in the 2013 Finance Act and under the new arrangements, which operate in respect of contributions made from 2013 onwards donations by both PAYE and self-assessed donors will be treated similarly. The donations will be 'grossed' at a blended tax rate of 31% and the tax will be repaid directly to the charity or approved body in the same manner as previously operated in respect of PAYE only donors. The arrangements for corporate donations did not change in the 2013 Finance Act and the tax relief will continue to be available to the company.
Details of refunds made to schools by PAYE donors in 2013 are included in the table below. The amounts contributed by self-assessed donors are not available at this time.
PAYE Refunds made to Schools under the Donations Scheme in 2013
Number of Schools who received a Refund
Number of PAYE Donations