How to donate to the Future of Humanity Institute as a UK taxpayer

As charitable causes, MIRI, CFAR, and FHI are the ones that seem to me to do the most good per pound given, and are not far apart in efficiency. However as a UK tax payer, I can give to FHI much more efficiently than I can the other two. I took some wrong turns in working out how best to set up my monthly donation, which meant it took longer than it needed to; here’s what I learned, so that it can be easier for you.

First of all, don’t try to use Give As You Earn. If you do this, the University of Oxford can’t tell for whom the money was earmarked, and so it ends up in general coffers. Instead, set up a donation via direct debit or credit card, and remember to tick the “Gift Aid box”.

This means that if you give £60, FHI get £75. However, if you pay into the 40% tax bracket (ie if your salary is more than ~£41.5k) then for your £60 you can give FHI £100. To do this, make your donation £80 and claim back the £20 from the Revenue by writing to them, something like this:

HM Revenue and Customs
PAYE and Self Assessment
PO Box 1970
L75 1WX

<your address, phone number and NI number>

From today, I have set up a monthly donation of £80 with Gift Aid to the University of Oxford Development Trust Fund. The Fund is an exempt charity for the purpose of charity legislation. As such, it has full charitable status; it is exempt from the requirement to register as a charity with the Charity Commission, and therefore does not have a Charity reference number. I understand that since I pay the 40% tax rate, this should mean a change in my tax code that reduces my monthly tax bill by around £20; please can you make this change?


I got them to change my code by calling them, but since it’s about 3 minutes navigating the phone tree and a further 20 mins on hold, writing may save time. If you’re paid over £150k you can get even more tax back – at that pay I’m guessing you have an accountant and they can advise you better than I can :)

Thanks to purplecoffeespoons for her advice on how to sort this out! CORRECTED 2013-08-07: thanks to both purplecoffeespoons and Psyche for setting me straight on the tax bands.

Published by Paul Crowley

I'm Paul Crowley aka "ciphergoth", a cryptographer and programmer living in Mountain View, California. See also my Twitter feed, my webpages, my blogs on Dreamwidth and Livejournal, and my previous proper blog. Or mail me: paul at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s