BUDGET: Charity Definition Delayed
15 May 2013 at 11:35 am
It’s been confirmed in the Federal Budget that the proposed introduction of a statutory definition of charity has been deferred for another six months.
The Federal Government has announced a later start date for the 2011?12 Budget measure Not?for?profit sector reforms — introducing a statutory definition of 'charity'.
This measure will now take effect from 1 January 2014, rather than 1 July 2013 as originally announced.
The Treasurer Wayne Swan says this measure is estimated to have a small but unquantifiable cost to revenue over the forward estimates period.
“The new start date will provide time for the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission to develop guidance for charities regarding the definition.
“The proposed statutory definition of charity preserves common law principles and provides greater clarity and certainty about the meaning of 'charity' and 'charitable purpose',” he said.
The Community Council of Australia says it’s not surprising that the new Definition of Charity legislation has been delayed along with consideration of changes to Fringe Benefit Tax and other tax concessions.
“Any new government reform requiring significant consultation was always going to be difficult to manage this late into the election cycle. The challenge for the current Government is not so much driving more reform, but consolidating changes and selling the benefits of the significant reforms they have already committed to,” CCA CEO, David Crosbie said.
“This is not an easy task given an electorate that seems to have developed a tin ear for political messaging.
“CCA believes that there is now real scope to drive the Not for Profit reform agenda as part of the election agenda, but clearly, there is a very limited appetite for new reforms in what remains of this term of government,” he said.
In April the Federal Government released the long awaited exposure draft legislation for a statutory definition of 'charity' in Australia preserving the common law definition of charity, including the presumption of public benefit for certain charitable purposes.
It also incorporates recent court decisions, such as Aid/Watch Incorporated v Federal Commissioner of Taxation, which extended the circumstances in which a charity may advance public debate.
The Budget Paper No.2 is available at http://www.budget.gov.au/2013-