Heritage and conservation charities that offer free admission in return for a donation could receive a major boost from a broadening of the Gift Aid rules announced in the Budget, according to Simon Littlejohns, tax partner in the Birmingham office of accountants PKF.
"The budget announcement could bring many more organisations within the rules," he said.
Gift Aid is a scheme which enables individuals to make tax effective donations to charity. The rules are such that charities benefit from an additional 28 pence for every pound given.
Donors must have paid enough tax to cover the amount repaid to the charity and must make it clear to the charity that they want Gift Aid to apply.
Mr Littlejohns said: "Currently, certain heritage and conservation charities can offer free admission to donors in return for a donation to allow them to view the work of the charity, without the admission being considered a benefit for Gift Aid purposes.
"From April 2006 the Government will broaden the scope of the exemption to apply where any type of charity grants to the public the right to pay to view property preserved, maintained, kept or created by a charity in relation to their charitable work."
Where the conditions are met and, instead of paying the admission charge, the visitor makes a donation.
The gift must be at least ten per cent more than the amount that any member of the public would have to pay to gain the same right of admission.