Getting Charity Shops to Sell Your Stuff For You

15 May 2012

I dis­cov­ered the most amazing thing today: in the UK, if Charity Shops are to claim Gift Aid on your do­na­tion (a tax in­cen­tive worth about 20% of its value), they are re­quired by law to first offer you the pro­ceeds of the sale. I got a letter ex­plain­ing this from Sue Ryder the other day: “If you want to reclaim the pro­ceeds from the sale of your do­na­tions for yourself, please write to us within 21 days…”

There’s more in­for­ma­tion about this sur­pris­ing sit­u­a­tion in the HMRC’s “Carrying out the sale on behalf of the owner.” What I don’t un­der­stand now is how Char­i­ties are sup­posed to prevent people from using them to sell their stuff–Sue Ryder, for example, only charge a 2% com­mis­sion for han­dling the sale. (I think this is low because they’re not allowed to claim Gift Aid on the “commission” in the event that the pro­ceeds are donated.)

I guess they could refuse to take on a con­sign­ment from a regular offender? Perhaps if there’s no attempt to claim Gift Aid they can keep the entire proceeds?

“Once the item has been sold the in­di­vid­ual must be told how much it was sold for and be given the op­por­tu­nity to choose whether to keep all or part of the pro­ceeds or donate all or part of those pro­ceeds to the charity.” – Claiming Gift Aid when goods are sold by, and the pro­ceeds gifted to, charities