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Australian philanthropy needs tax fillip

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Political editor


Media Monitors

1 9 A u g u st, 1 9 9 8


Philanthropy Australia, the national peak organisation representing private, family and corporate grantmaking trusts and foundations, whilst welcoming some aspects o f the Coalition Government's tax reform package, today said many tax barriers still exist which stop Australians from giving more generously.

Mr Ben Bodna, President of Philanthropy Australia, said, "We are pleased that charitable activities undertaken by registered charitable organisations are to be G ST- free and that these organisations will be able to obtain refunds of imputation credits in respect Of their income, Philanthropy Australia will be seeking clarification about the establishment of the registration process and definitions used for charitable organisations as this will be vitally important to the success of these proposed changes.

"However, our broader concern is to have a tax system which removes the disincentives to charitable giving and encourages philanthropic endeavours by both private individuals and dorporations. In this regard there is still much to be done in terms of tax reform,

Mr Bodna pointed out that there are a number of anomalies in income tax law which actively discourage philanthropy in Australia, which have not been addressed by the package. "]For example, gifts to charity of properly which has been acquired by the donor more than 12 months prior to the gift does not

attract a deduction (with somfe limited exceptions) yet if property had been cash or property acquired less thap 12 months prior, it would." he said. "Another oddity is where assets left by will to a charitable organisation (with tax deductible status), not only means the estate is denied a tax deduction but it

may also be liable for capital jgains tax. Y et if the individual had made the donation immediately prior toideath a tax deduction would have been available, Furthermore, if the individual jhad left the estate to beneficiaries who then sold the asset and made a donation o f the proceeds, they would receive a tax deduction. Clearly this sort of inconsistency creates disincentives to bequeath assets to charitable organisations.''

Philanthropy Australia is calling on all political parties to consider tax reforms which m ake it easier for Australians to give to charity. Mr Bodna argues "It is this generosity which has helped shape some new directions in many social and environmental projects, as well as providing much needed support to those

organisations caring for disadvantaged Australians,"

Media Enquiries \ Ben Bodna, President, Philanthropy Australia 0396509255 j

Jean Elder, Acting ExecutiveiDirector, Philanthropy Australia 041 9310 696 >

Philanthropy Australia Inc

National Office Levels 111 Collins St - -

Melbourne 3000 Victoria Australia

Telephone (61 3) 96509255

Facsimile (61 3) 96546298


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National Association far Grantmaking Family Private and Corporate Trusts and Foundations