Subscription Guide

As you will probably realise the Synagogue is entirely self-supporting and it is the contribution of members, through their annual subscription fees that provides the vast majority of our income.  Generous donations and fund raising ideas are always welcome and allow us to ensure we continue to be a vibrant community, but it is the fees that people pay every year that we depend on to survive and continue to thrive.

The following provides you with a guide to current subscription rates which are so important to our community.

Members’ subscription rates (1st April 2017 to 31st March 2018)

How we set the Subscriptions Rates

Most of the various subscriptions rates charged are based on three decisions made by your council:

  1. The ‘base’ subscription figure for a single adult (excluding JJBS subscription, and before the effect of Gift Aid) is £550.98 this year. Families are charged as two adults
  2. The optional Over 70’s rates are 70% of the base figure

From there, much of the rest comes from:

  1. Gift Aid – through which the Synagogue is able to claim 25p for every £1 paid by a member who signs a Gift Aid Declaration
  2. The ability of Higher Rate (40%) and Top Rate (45%) Tax payers to reclaim further tax relief through Self Assessment
  3. The JJBS subscription is£48 per person this year

Finally, of course, the rates are set with a view to bringing in enough income to the synagogue to achieve a balanced budget.

Normal Member Subscription Rates

  No Gift Aid / Non Tax Payer Basic Rate Tax Payer with Gift Aid High Rate Tax Payer with Gift Aid Top Rate Tax Payer with Gift Aid
Single Adult £598.98 £488.78 £635.71 £689.14
Family £1,197.96 £977.57 £1,271.42 £1,378.28

 

Please let us know if you are a higher rate taxpayer, and we have invoiced you at the Standard rate. Since you will receive higher rate tax relief from the Inland Revenue, you would effectively be receiving a 23% discount at the expense of our poorer members, which would be very unfair.

Similarly, if you fall into the Top Rate (45%) Tax Band, please advise the synagogue to arrange for an amended invoice.

 Age Related, Subsidised Subscription Rates

Over 70s

  No Gift Aid / Non Tax Payer Basic Rate Tax Payer with Gift Aid High / Top Rate Tax Payer with Gift Aid
Single Over 70s £433.69 £356.55 N/A
Family Over 70s £867.37 £713.10 N/A

Please note the following regarding the optional reduced rate for members who are over 70

  • If you can afford to pay the normal member rates, please do so.
  • It is assumed that any member over 70 who is a higher or top rate taxpayer would not be paying the age-reduced rate.

 Younger Members

  Non Tax Payer Basic Rate Tax Payer with Gift Aid
21-25 (on 1.4.17) Contact Office £71.16
26-29 (on 1.4.17) Contact Office £106.10

Please note the following regarding the optional reduced rate for longstanding members who are under 30

  • If you can afford to pay the normal member rates, please do so.
  • These rates only apply if you complete a Gift Aid Form (or are a non tax payer).

 Paying Your Subscriptions

If you can afford it, please pay the full annual subscription by completing the Annual standing order mandate form, by Internet banking, or by cheque now. This improves our cash flow and hugely reduces the work of the office.

If you really cannot afford to pay the full amount now, YOU MUST COMPLETE A NEW STANDING ORDER MANDATE as the old one will have expired. You can complete the enclosed form OR you can set up a standing order online through your internet banking.

Telephone the Synagogue Office on 020 8946 4836 if a form has not been enclosed with this pack.

Voluntary donations, the “Maimonides Fund”

We never turn a member away, even if they cannot pay the normal rate. We have over 100 members who are on special, reduced rates. To help balance our budget we hope that the better off members of the community will make a voluntary contribution to make up this income shortfall. By so doing, those who can afford a little more help those who can afford less.  You will see a space at the bottom of the remittance portion of the invoice, in which we hope you may feel able to insert a figure.  Our target is to raise at least £10,000 in this way. Through Gift Aid we can add a further 25% to your donation, however large or small it may be.  The Synagogue much appreciates your generosity, and, by giving in this way, you attain the seventh of Maimonides’ charitable degrees!

Voluntary levy for the Board of Deputies

Also at the bottom of the invoice you will see a space to pay the £30 voluntary levy to the Board of Deputies. The Board of Deputies is the one communal body where Reform and Orthodox work together, as advocates for the whole spectrum of British Jewry. It is vital that we, Reform Jews, support its work. Our membership typically contributes around £3000 p.a. through the voluntary levy and we hope that you will continue, or increase, your support. If you cannot afford £30, feel free to enter a smaller amount.

Members joining and leaving

New members are expected to pay their subscription or sign a standing order in both cases accompanied by a Gift Aid form before approval by Council and entry onto the membership list.  They are charged pro rata for the number of months remaining in the financial year to 31 March.

Departing members who have not paid a subscription for the year in which they leave are asked to pay pro rata for the number of months of their membership.

Arrears

Members are reminded that our constitution requires us to remove from membership any member whose subscription is more than nine months overdue, unless we are aware of special circumstances. This action will be taken if we receive no satisfactory response, despite sending reminder letters.

Questions You Might Ask:-

How Does Gift Aid Work?

Gift Aid is the scheme operated by the Inland Revenue whereby tax payers can get tax relief on donations to Registered Charities – which includes the synagogue.

What it means is that, if you complete a Gift Aid Declaration for us, the synagogue can essentially get ‘the Taxman’ to pay a proportion of your subscription, roughly equivalent to the amount of Basic Rate Tax. This coming year, that means that the Taxman pays 20% of your basic subscription (excl. JJBS), and you pay the balance. If you are a Basic Rate Tax Payer, that’s all there is to it. We reduce the amount we invoice to you, and collect the balance from the Inland Revenue.

What About for Higher Rate Tax Payers? Why do we pay more?

Yes, if you just look at the table of subscriptions on page 1, it does look as if you pay more than a Basic Rate Tax Payer. However, your payment to the synagogue is eligible for further tax relief (right up to the Higher Rate), which you can claim through Self Assessment.

When you go on the Higher Rate subscription, though you pay more upfront (and the synagogue gets that extra income), you reclaim 25% of your payment (less the £48 JJBS fee) back through your tax return. In the end, you pay the same as a Basic Rate Tax Payer, but the synagogue ends up with more income. That extra income goes into all the services that the synagogue provides to its members: Shabbat and festival services, cheder, adult education, the care group and so on.

There’s a similar calculation for the new Top Rate tax band, where you reclaim 38% of your payment via Self-Assessment.

That’s why, in recent years, we have been contacting every member paying the subscription of a Basic Rate Tax Payer to confirm whether they should in fact be at Higher Rate. We’ll also be contacting Higher Rate Tax Payers to help identify those in the new Top Rate (45%) band.

 I’m a Higher Rate Tax Payer. What do I put on my tax return?

It is important for Higher Rate Tax payers to enter their Gift Aid on their annual tax return.  If they do not, they will not get the tax relief referred to above. The correct figure to enter is your actual payment to the Synagogue, less the payment to the burial society (which does not count as a charitable gift).

For example, if you are a Family, paying tax at the Higher Rate:

  • You make a subscription payment of £1,271.42,
  • £96 of this is disallowed as payment to the burial scheme.
  • You declare to the Inland Revenue a payment of £1,271.42-£96 = £1175.42.
  • You will receive back a tax rebate of £293.86 (25% of £1,175.42).

The actual cost to you of Synagogue membership is therefore £1,271.42- £293.86 = £977.57, exactly the same as a Standard rate taxpayer.

I’m going to fall into the new Top Rate Tax Band. What do I put on my tax return?

The synagogue will write to all Higher Rate Tax Payers asking them if they expect to fall into the new Top Rate Tax Band. For those who do, the Synagogue will issue a new invoice at a higher amount, which reflects the additional tax relief available to these tax payers.

What if I pay my subscription through a charitable trust (such as a KKL voucher)?

If you pay your subscription via a charitable Trust, KKL voucher or similar, the charitable Trust will have already added the 25% to your account and you therefore need to pay us the higher, non gift-aided rate.

What does gift aid commit me to and how long does it last?

It commits you to nothing. It lasts indefinitely and allows us to reclaim tax on all donations and subscriptions.

Is the whole amount of the subscription included in gift aid?

No.  The Inland Revenue does not allow, for tax reclaim purposes, that part of your subscription which pays for the burial fees insurance scheme (currently £48 per person per annum) or your donation to the Board of Deputies.

Please note that if you pay your subscription via a charitable trust, KKL voucher or similar, the burial scheme fee (£48 per person) and any donation to the Board of Deputies must be paid with a separate cheque (not a charitable trust cheque).

What happens if I do not pay tax?

Firstly, check that you really do pay no tax at all. You may pay tax if you have a building society savings account. Tax might be deducted from your pension, or you might pay capital gains tax.

As long as you pay, in a tax year, an amount of income tax, or capital gains tax, which amounts to more than 25% of your subscription, or donation (together with any other gift aid donations that you make during the year) , then your gift aid form is valid.

Suppose you pay a standard rate single subscription, which, excluding burial fees, is £440.78. Provided you have paid tax of £110.20 (25% of £440.78) the Synagogue can claim this back from the Inland Revenue. Please note that you do not have to pay tax at the basic 20% rate for us to reclaim it. We can reclaim any tax at all which you pay in a tax year, including capital gains tax and tax deducted from interest/dividends.

If you really do pay no tax, then you might be able to pay at the lower, Gift Aid rate (although you are unable to sign the Gift Aid form) or an agreed lower rate for those in financial hardship; please ask us about this.

What happens if I pay tax and do not complete a gift aid form?

As the Synagogue cannot reclaim the tax, which forms an important part of our annual income, we have to ask you to pay the higher, gross rate, i.e. 25% more (see rates on page 1).  We therefore strongly recommend you sign a gift aid form – it saves you money.

If you have any further queries about your subscription, or would like to suggest that this guide covers some other aspect of subscriptions, please do get in touch and let me know.

March 2017