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EOFY charitable giving on the decline

An analysis of the Australian Taxation Office has found tax-deductible donations have been on a decline since 2011

As charities make a last ditch appeal for donations during this End of Financial Year period, a report reveals Australia’s tax-deductible charitable giving has declined.

As part of an analysis of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) data, the QUT Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) reported a 7.2 per cent drop, or $221 million, in donations in 2015-16 compared to the previous year’s findings.

The report identified that the percentage of taxpayers donating has continued in a downward trend since 2010-11, adding: “The overall amount donated has fallen after an all-time high of $3.08 billion in the previous year.”

In 2014-15, the previous year’s data, there was a 15 per cent increase, or $464 million, in taxpayers making a donation. This declined from the 34.8 per cent of tax deductible gifts in 2014-15 to 33.40 per cent in the 12 months during 2015-16.

ACPNS Emeritus Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes also reported the postcode with the highest tax deductible donation was 2030 in New South Wales.

“Residents there gave a total of $46.12 million, but we should keep in mind that the 2030 postcode takes in high-income suburbs such as Dover Heights, HMAS Watson, Roes Bay North, Vaucluse and Watsons Bay,” McGregor-Lowndes said.

McGregor-Lowndes added: “The Sunshine state gave a total of $380.06 million in deductible gifts but interestingly, Queensland was the second lowest on the list when it came to the percentage of taxable income donated.”

According to the ATO, to qualify as a tax-deductible donation, the gift must be a voluntary transfer of money or property where the taxpayer receives no benefit or advantage and it must comply with all relevant gift conditions.

The amount of the gift must be at least $2 and must also not have been made for a raffle ticket, cost of attending events or membership fees.

In 2015-16, Australia also recorded its 25th year of continuous economic growth, a significant announcement given the economic situation around the world. In the same year a Giving Australia report estimated 14.9 million Australian adults donated to charities and not-for-profits in the same 12 months during 2015-16.

McGregor-Lowndes reported that chief executives and managing directors had claimed the most tax deductible donations at $277.55 million. Ministers of Religion were most generous with the highest deductible gifts in relation to their tax income.

“When it comes to occupations with the highest percentage of donating taxpayers, police came out on top for the sixth year in a row, with almost three-quarters of officers giving, followed by school principals,” McGregor-Lowndes said.

This report comes as charities and not-for-profits seek to maximise profits during the EOFY. Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service launched its annual campaign with its CEO welcoming tax-deductible donations up until June 30.

CEO Richard Jones said: “Since 1975 the Westpac Rescue Helicopter has relied on community support. And in 2018 our End of Financial Year is an important part of our annual fundraising program.

“Small or large, every amount donated will stay locally and will help to ensure that the Rescue Helicopter can continue to fly 24-7 as a free service.”

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