For single-school academy trusts, GASDS can be claimed on up to £8,000 of donations per tax year, which equates to a repayment of £2,000. MATs may also choose, instead of claiming a single £8,000 limit for the whole trust, to claim up to £8,000 of donations for each individual school. For example, a MAT made up of 20 schools could, in theory, claim £40,000 in a tax year if at least £8,000 of small cash donations are collected by each of the schools.
However, the individual school in a MAT must qualify as a ‘community building’ in order to be eligible to have its own £8,000 limit. Unfortunately the normal teaching activities of the school will not qualify it for this purpose - the school needs to carry out a charitable activity that is open to the general public (or a section of the public) with no charge for access, at least 6 times in the tax year and with at least 10 people in attendance.
Examples of activities that could qualify a school as a community building include: a breakfast club for local elderly residents, an activity club open to all children in the community, a free music concert, or a church group meeting.
Note that as long as the school building qualifies as a community building, cash donations under GASDS can be collected anywhere in the school building or in the same council area – donations do not have to be collected as part of the specific qualifying community activity (apart from donations collected before 6 April 2017, for which different rules apply).
Please note that GASDS can only be claimed by an academy or MAT if it has made a claim under regular Gift Aid in the same tax year and the Gift Aid claim is worth at least 10% of the value of the GASDS claim. For example, if an academy receives a donation of £500 under regular Gift Aid it can claim up to £5,000 under GASDS in the same tax year.
The time limit for a claim under GASDS is two years following the end of the tax year (5 April) in which the donations were collected.