Can a company make charitable business donations, and are such contributions tax-deductible? If your business can do this, it will be good for the cause that you support, and it is also good to help others who are less fortunate.
If you choose to donate to good causes, can you claim donations to charity as part of your business expenses? Indeed, this is one of those things that you may have thought about before. What is more, if you can claim these, how do the rules work around limited company charity donations?
Can a company donate to charity?
First, when you consider donating to charity, you may feel delighted when you can contribute to a good cause. You can donate to your chosen charity or charities you care about and do a good deed to help those in most need.
Small business donations to charity can significantly change people’s lives who are less blessed than ourselves. The good news is that if you have your own company, you can make limited company charity donations, and when you do, the company will receive tax relief.
Notably, there are certain conditions that you will need to meet before you can donate through your limited company. Therefore, it will be vital that you make sure that you adhere to these.
Business donations to charity -claiming for these
What do we need to consider when we look at can a company donate money to charity? Please note that when your company donates, you must retain the documents supporting this. The donation also needs to be to a UK-registered charity. If it is, you can claim this as a business expense in your company’s accounts.
Although you may be able to claim for limited company charity donations under the rules we explain below; contractors often miss two other expenses:
Please also note there are separate rules for business gifts that you should consider if you are thinking about this.
Methods of donating
Donate on a personal basis
You can donate to a charity on a personal basis and receive tax relief through your personal tax return. The donations should be made under the Gift Aid system so that you can receive tax relief. Please note that donations not made via Gift Aid will not receive tax relief. When you use the Gift Aid method to donate, you need to provide a declaration. You can state either in writing or verbally that you are eligible. In the UK, the largest charities will include Gift Aid declarations on their donation forms or websites.
Sadly, due to the way the UK tax system works, when you claim tax relief on gifts personally, it will only favour you if you are a higher-rate taxpayer. To sum up, you will only receive tax relief on a personal basis if your income is in the higher rates tax band. If you are in the higher rates tax band, your total annual income is above £50,270 in the tax year 2022/23.
Furthermore, if you have not paid any income tax and include the donations on your tax return, you will pay tax on the donations. If you do, the charity can claim the tax back. However, in this scenario, you may choose not to include the donations on your personal tax return, and you will not need to pay the tax on these.
Paying for donations through your company
Please note that when your company donates, you must retain the documents supporting this. What’s more, the donation needs to be to a UK-registered charity. If it is, you can claim this as a business expense in your company’s accounts.
Therefore, if you donate to a UK-registered charity through your business, it will receive tax relief. This is providing that your company makes profits before you pay the donation. In turn, the limited company charity donations are deductible against your taxable profits, and as a result, your business will pay less Corporation Tax.
Furthermore, if you decide to donate your business, there are several ways that you can do this. These include:
- You could donate trading stock items or equipment (products or services that your company supplies).
- Donating certain shares or land/property.
- Make sponsorship payments.
It may be the case that your business may receive some form of benefit in return for a company donation. An example here might be tickets to a particular event. Therefore, a further condition when you claim this is that it needs to be lower than a certain amount to qualify for tax relief. These amounts are:
||The maximum value of the benefit
|Up to £100
||25% of the donation
|£101 – £1,000
|£1,001 and over
||5% of the donation (this is capped at £2,500)
The above applies to the benefits receivable by anybody connected to your company. This also includes any close relatives.
The different ways to donate
As a general rule, when you donate money to charity through your company, this is tax-deductible. However, there are some exceptions.
First, you cannot claim tax relief on any payments the charity will pay back to you as a loan. What’s more, you are not entitled to tax relief on donations you make where there is a condition the charity will buy something from your business. Furthermore, your company will not receive any tax relief on any funds given to charity as a distribution of company profit (dividend).
Equipment or trading stock
Your company can claim full Capital Allowances (tax allowances against company profit) on any equipment it donates to charity.
Also, any donated equipment must have been used by your business. For example, you may buy a new laptop and donate your old one to a charity for their use.
Other types of equipment that qualify are vehicles, office furniture, machinery, etc.
Finally, you can give stock items your business makes or sells to charity.
Certain shares or land/property
This is quite a complex area to explain and is very rarely used. Please see HMRC’s detailed guidance concerning this.
Can you claim Gift Aid on a company donation?
Gift Aid can be claimed on personal donations through your personal tax return. Therefore, this is not applicable if a company donates.
Sponsorship payments differ from charitable donations because your company will receive some benefit in return. An example here might be the charity might publicly support or endorse your services or product. What’s more, the charity may show your company’s logo on their branded material and website. It could also have links on their website to yours.
We can treat sponsorship payments through a company as business expenses. In turn, these are tax-deductible.
Please note, if you are making business donations to charity as a sole trader or a partnership, there are different rules for you. In this case, you should seek advice from your accountant or HMRC.
Making donations personally
When an individual makes donations to charity, they cannot claim them as an expense in their tax return. The same rule applies to sole traders and partnerships, too, whereas companies can claim donations against tax, providing the conditions are met.
Instead, when they donate under Gift Aid to charities and community amateur sports clubs (CASCs), the charity can claim an extra 25p for every £1 donated. It will not cost the individual any extra.
As part of the Gift Aid process, the individual will need to make a Gift Aid declaration for the charity to claim the tax. The individual can also include all donations from the last four years. They will need to tell the charity about any tax years where they did not pay enough tax. The donations will qualify, providing they are not more than four times what the person has paid in tax in that tax year (6 April to 5 April).
If the person pays tax above the basic tax rate, they can claim the difference between the rate they pay and the basic tax on the donation. It’s the same if they live in Scotland. The claim can be made via their Self-Assessment tax return or by asking HMRC to amend their tax code.
We cover most of the things you need to consider when you make a company donation.
Finally, many contractors and small business owners can donate to UK-registered charities each year through their own companies. They may choose a good cause and make donations every month. They may also donate at a time that suits them during the year. In return, they feel content to give support to a good cause and provide some help where it is most needed.
As part of making business donations through your own company, if you follow the above notes, they are tax-deductible.
Link to Contractor Advice UK group on