The Movember Tax Scam

Written by Gavin Stebbing on 24 November 2014

The Movember story started in Melbourne Australia in 2003 when two mates, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, were having a quiet beer at the Gypsy Bar on Brunswick St, Fitzroy. Their conversation turned to recurring fashion trends and they questioned where the Mo had gone and joked about bringing it back. The two friends decided to talk their mates into growing a Mo. Inspired by a friend’s mother who was fundraising for breast cancer, they decided to make the campaign about men’s health and prostate cancer. They designed rules and guidelines for Movember (which are still in place today) and found 30 guys willing to take up the challenge.

Through the power of the moustache, in just 11 short years, Movember has become a truly global movement that is changing the face of men's health; it has raised over £340 million since 2003 and to date has funded 770 men's health projects.

Inspired by our baby-faced captain, Harry, WSM has entered a team of 17 to support the Movember cause, all of whom are busy growing their facial hair for the imaginatively named Wet Shave, Stubble and Moustarsh team. Now, I need to explain to you the fabulous tax breaks of sponsoring either me or my team. It all works by making your donation under the Gift Aid scheme. The Gift Aid scheme is for gifts of money by individuals who pay UK tax. Gift Aid donations are regarded as having basic rate tax deducted by the donor. The charity to whom you make the donation reclaim the basic rate of tax from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) on its 'gross' equivalent i.e. the amount before the basic rate tax of 20% was deducted.

If I have managed to lose you already, then sorry – let's work on some numbers. Let's say you are so impressed by the moustache I have grown, that you will donate £20 to me via my Movember team page. The point is that you deduct the basic rate of tax, i.e. 20% at source, and keep it. So 20% x £20 = £4 and therefore you actually donate just £16; the Movember charity then reclaims £4 from HMRC so that it ends up at the gross £20 donation that you intended. You have therefore already obtained 20% tax relief on your £20 donation, because it has only cost you £16.

And the good news gets even better if you happen to be a higher rate or additional rate taxpayer. You can claim higher rate tax relief by declaring the donation on your annual tax return. For example, if you are a 45% taxpayer, you will get an additional £5 of tax relief when you submit your tax return, reducing the net cost of your £20 donation to a mere £11. How good does that make you feel?

So go ahead and make my day. And make those people at HMRC miserable. Make a £16 donation on my MoBro page here or alternatively on the team page here

It might just save your life.

For pictures of the team participating in Movember, check out the news articles here and here.