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Australians Claim More Donations Via Their Tax Returns


6 July 2009 at 5:23 pm
Staff Reporter
The latest Australian Tax office figures for 2006-07 indicate an astounding increase in gift deductions according to Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes, Director of the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies at Queensland University of Technology.

Staff Reporter | 6 July 2009 at 5:23 pm


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Australians Claim More Donations Via Their Tax Returns
6 July 2009 at 5:23 pm

The latest Australian Tax office figures for 2006-07 indicate an astounding increase in gift deductions according to Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes, Director of the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies at Queensland University of Technology.

In his annual review of the ATO tax return figures, McGregor-Lowndes says Australia has been witnessing double digit growth in tax deductible giving, at a rate unknown in other OECD countries.

The total amount donated and claimed as tax-deductible donations in 2006-07 was $1.89 billion (compared to $1.55 billion in the previous income year). This is an increase of some $329 million (or 21.1%). It is an average of $74,512 per endorsed Deductible Gift Recipient.

The assessment also found that:

• The average tax-deductible donation made and claimed by Australian taxpayers was $440.01 (compared to $370.83 in the previous income year).
• 4.28 million Australian taxpayers (or 36.30% of the Australian taxpaying population) made and claimed a gift.
• In 2006-07, the average taxable income of all taxpayers was about $42,476. Tax-deductible donations claimed by taxpayers in the $40,001-$45,000 income band was $251.35, being 0.27% of their taxable income. About 45.02% of taxpayers in this band claiming a tax deductible gift.
• The average tax-deductible donation for those having the problem of earning over $1 million in taxable income per year was $48,548.66 These taxpayers earning over $1 million donated approximately 1.37% of their taxable income to DGRs. Over 63% of such taxpayers claimed a deductible gift.

McGregor-Lowndes says in the latest QUT podcast that for the first time, it is now possible to drill down into the taxation data to postcode level of taxpayer’s residence and by their fine occupation.

The postcode with the highest total of tax deductible gifts is Sydney’s Darling Point. It has a total of $57,710,280 and an average per taxpayer of $25,037.00.

Toorak in Melbourne follows with $21,803,105 claimed in total, with an average of just under $6000.

The highest average gift deductions were claimed by the occupation category of Parliamentarian, Judges and governors with some average of $1,938. This was followed by Mining engineers; then Managing directors and then medical specialists – all over an average of $1,600.

The occupation with the highest deductible gift to taxable income ratio was religious practitioners (1.9%) followed by performing artists (1.14%).

The occupation with the highest percentage of donating taxpayers was commissioned fire officer, commissioned police officer and police inspector (72.77%), followed by police detectives and investigators (68.10%). We suspect this has to do with payroll giving in police forces.

He says it is important to keep this analysis in context.

He says the Giving Australia Report in 2005 suggested from a telephone survey of some 6,000 adults that tax deductible giving represented about one fifth of all giving which included gaming and business sponsorships as well.

A November 2002 analysis of DGR endorsement information indicates tax deductible gifts at about a third of the DGR’ s recorded donations, which is also supported by a 1998 estimate by Givewell.



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