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Tax concessions must continue to support NGOs' important work

Posted August 4, 2017

Australian charities, including community legal centres, undertake important advocacy work and have a long and successful history of bringing about positive and systemic reform of laws and legal frameworks at all levels of government. This advocacy has clear economic and public policy benefits, and continues to be supported by Governments, including through tax concessions

Access to Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status is an important part of ensuring ongoing funding for charities and DGRs across Australia, particularly in the face of increasing reductions in Government funding. The DGR framework as provided for under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth) provides a vital system which enables charities and other organisations to receive gifts for which a donor can claim a tax deduction.

Australia’s community legal centre peaks, led by the National Association of Community Legal Centres, have provided feedback in relation to the Treasury Discussion Paper ‘Tax Deductible Gift Recipient Reform Opportunities’. The submission recommends that the Australian Government should:

  1. continue to support a strong and efficient charity and deductible gift recipient sector, including by maintaining existing taxation concessions and arrangements.
  2. streamline administration of Deductible Gift Recipient status in Australia, within a clear regulatory framework, administered by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.
  3. provide the Australian Charities and Not-for‐profits Commission with sufficient resources to undertake its important regulatory work, including any additional responsibilities as a result of proposed reforms.
  4. continue to respect and acknowledge the role of charities in undertaking advocacy work, including through continuing assessment of charitable and deductible gift recipient status based on purposes rather than activities.
  5. undertake further and broader work and consultation in relation to proposed deductible gift recipient reform prior to implementing any such reform.