DGR Legislation for Volunteer Fire Brigades
11 May 2010 at 10:29 am
The Federal Government has released for public comment draft legislation that extends tax deductible donation support to all 6,200 Australian volunteer fire brigades.
The Government’s proposed legislation also extends access to this support to all volunteer-based, state-recognised emergency service entities.
The Assistant Treasurer, Senator Nick Sherry says the draft legislation will allow all volunteer fire brigades and related volunteer emergency services to collect tax deductible donations
He says the draft bill will extend deductible gift recipient (DGR) support to all these entities and they will have flexibility in how they access this support.
The brigades can choose to go through centralised public donation funds established by a State government agency – as is currently the case in Victoria – or they can set up their own funds.
Until now, only 1,800 volunteer brigades – less than a third – have had access to tax deductible donation support. These have been recognised as public benevolent institutions (PBIs) – Not for Profit institutions organised for the direct relief of poverty, sickness, suffering, distress, misfortune, disability or helplessness. However, recent legal cases have led the Commissioner of Taxation to consider that volunteer fire brigades do not meet the strict PBI criteria.
Senator Sherry says the Government’s legislation will ensure these brigades can continue to collect tax deductible donations and goes much further by extending such support to all remaining brigades.
He says the draft legislation provides support in a way that is consistent across all jurisdictions and takes into account the views expressed by the States and Territories in giving brigades the freedom to decide how best to minimise their overall administrative burden.
The draft legislation is available at www.treasury.gov.au and consultation closes on Tuesday 25 May 2010.