Naming a building in acknowledgement of an important donor as a gesture of appreciation for their substantial donation has never been treated as being a donor benefit for gift aid purposes.
HMRC’s guidance on the gift aid rules which covered this point was updated in 2019. It was however slightly ambiguous in its terms, leading to some confusion about whether or not this was still the case.
HMRC have recently confirmed that there has been no policy change. They have updated their guidance to clarify that the naming of all or part of a building, whether it is for an intended new build or an existing building does not change the eligibility of the donation for tax relief under the gift aid rules, provided that it does not go beyond an acknowledgment of their generosity. This clarification has been welcomed by charity practitioners.
The HMRC guidance now provides that “a commemorative-type plaque recording the name of the individual donor and that they provided a donation, would not be considered a benefit. However, a sign which also promoted a business [or sponsorship for the donor] would be an advert and so would be considered a benefit”.
You may also be interested in the following articles: