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Does Philanthropy Need a Helping Hand?


1 July 2014 at 11:34 am
Staff Reporter
The Federal Government’s revamped Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership faces a challenge to turn around giving in Australia, writes Myles McGregor-Lowndes, Director of The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, at QUT.

Staff Reporter | 1 July 2014 at 11:34 am


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Does Philanthropy Need a Helping Hand?
1 July 2014 at 11:34 am

The Federal Government’s revamped Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership faces a challenge to turn around giving in Australia, writes Myles McGregor-Lowndes, Director of The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, at QUT.

In 2007-08 the tax deductible gifts disclosed in personal income tax returns reached $2.4 billion – four years later the level is still $144 million shy of this high point.

Since 2001 there had been a double digit percentage growth, which saw the total of deductible gifts double, until the GFC brought a halt. No doubt the relatively good economic conditions during this period assisted, but other factors might have contributed to this substantial philanthropic growth spurt.

There were a number of taxation reforms and incentives that were rolled out as part of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership. The most influential initiative was the reform to tax law which allowed closely held foundations to be formed by high net worth donors; this was bolstered by five year averaging of donations, recognition of non-cash donations and payroll giving.

The raised profile of philanthropy, led by the then Prime Minister John Howard and other high profile business figures, through reports and awards was also a contributing factor, as was the encouragement of corporate giving .

Is philanthropy about to receive a helping hand? In the last budget the Australian Government set aside $5.98 million over the next four years to re-establish the Partnership chaired by the Prime Minister, with the Minister for Social Services as Deputy Chair.

The Partnership faces a challenge to turn around giving in Australia, as indicated by the 2011-12 examination of tax-deductible donations made by individual Australian taxpayers, for example:

  • Australians claimed $2.24 billion in tax deductible gifts in 2011-12, still $144 million below the pre-GFC high in 2007;
  • the percentage of Australian taxpayers making deductible gifts fell from 37.93 per cent in 2006-07 to 35.62 per cent in 2011-12
  • the number of people using workplace giving over that time dropped by nearly 30,000 employees.

Download the full paper: http://eprints.qut.edu.au/72596/

About the Author: Myles McGregor-Lowndes is Director of The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, QUT, a member of the ACNC Advisory Board and ATO‘s Not-for-Profit Advisory Group.

Read more from Pro Bono Australia News: Fewer Aussies Giving More to Charity



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