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Who's Claiming Their Tax Deductible Donations?

28 May 2001 at 1:05 pm
Staff Reporter
The latest Tax Office statistics confirm a 6-year upward trend in the number of tax return claims for donations to charities and other public funds.

Staff Reporter | 28 May 2001 at 1:05 pm


Who's Claiming Their Tax Deductible Donations?
28 May 2001 at 1:05 pm

The latest Tax Office statistics confirm a 6-year upward trend in the number of tax return claims for donations to charities and other public funds and a recent survey offers some interesting insights into the individuals who declare their giving!

According to a comprehensive review of 98/99 figures, claims of $632 million were made in the 1999 financial year, an increase of 8.8% on the previous year.

Some 3.26million taxpayers made claims and that’s about one third of the total number of all Australian taxpayers according to the working paper report by Dr. Myles McGregor-Lowndes from the Queensland University of Technology’s Program of Nonprofit Corporations.

The working paper also prepared by Stephen Marsden and Ted Flack says the results show the largest percentage increase so far this decade.

The breakdown of figures from information based on published ATO material shows that the average amount of any gift donated per Australian taxpayer in their individual tax return is $194. This represents an 8.8% increase (up from $181) and is the highest increase recorded in the decade of the 90’s.

The McGregor-Lowndes report says on average, those Australian taxpayers that do donate monies and claim deductions in the income tax return donate approximately 0.22% of their taxable income to charities.

In our last edition of the Pro Bono Australia e-Newsletter on the “Culture of Giving” we reported on the latest “Givewell” survey, which confirmed a resurgence in the Australian culture of giving – in fact it’s up 17%!

The latest report from the QUT also describes the claims made on a state by state basis.

While NSW is Australia’s most generous state according to the ATO statistics with a total of 1,090,026 taxpayers donating $254 million, more people in the ACT ( 40%) actually claimed their tax deductible gifts followed next by Victoria and South Australia both on 36%, NSW on 34% and Queensland on 30%.

And while the average donation was $194 for individuals, the average donation for individual small business taxpayers totalled $357 with large taxpayer businesses donating an average of $15,473.

Dr. McGregor-Lowndes says the results are as one would expect; the more one earns, the more one claims as a deduction for gifts.

His report also looks at the industries in which donors come from.

It says individual taxpayers in the accommodation, cafes and restaurant industry are Australia’s most generous making an average tax-deductible donation of $1,260 and well above the national average of $194.

Next were taxpayers in the health and community service sector who make average tax-deductible donations of $949.

The taxpayers who make the least amount of tax-deductible donations come from the construction industry where the report found that only one in six people in this industry make donations compared to the national average of one in three.

Dr. McGregor-Lowndes says a detailed analysis reveals that taxpayers working in pubs, taverns and bars during 98/99 were Australia’s most generous donating an average of 13.2% of their taxable income compared to the national average of 0.22%!

He says it is also interesting to note that whilst a greater number of accountants (44.09%) made tax deductible donations than lawyers(33.66%) the average donations made by lawyers exceeds those of accountants by more than three times!

The report points out that the amounts shown in this study only represents amounts that have been donated and claimed as tax deductions by individual taxpayers in the personal income tax returns for the 1999 financial year.

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