Annual Reporting for DGRs Will Reduce Red Tape Burden - FIA
4 August 2017 at 11:05 am
Annual one-stop reporting to the national charity regulator for organisations with deductible gift recipient status (DGRs) would reduce red tape burden, according to peak body Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA).
The FIA has argued for a reduction in the burden of red tape for charities in a new proposal recently submitted to Treasury.
The proposal was in response to a Treasury discussion paper on DGR status reform.
FIA argued that annual reporting to the Australian Charities and Non-Profit Commission (ACNC) would simplify the current reporting system for DGRs of multiple categories and registers and also ensure that charities with DGR status were operating lawfully.
Chief executive of FIA, Rob Edwards said: “Streamlined registration is a much-needed reform for charities with DGR status. The ACNC could act as a ‘one stop shop’ in this process with charities reporting once a year as part of the annual information statement.
“Such a move will reduce the current burden on DGR charities of multiple reporting to government agencies,” Edwards said.
In its proposal, the FIA also made a strong statement against the measures to reduce charities ability to advocate.
It said: “FIA does not support other measures proposed in the discussion paper which add to charities’ administrative burden such as a requirement to report on advocacy, a mandatory percentage spend to be imposed on environmental organisations and sanctions for noncompliance”.
The FIA’s statement comes on top of a move by the NSW Minerals Council which called for environmental companies such as Greenpeace and Lock the Gate to be stripped of their DGR status unless they committed 50 per cent of their annual expenditure from their public fund to environmental remediation.
Edwards said charities had an important role to play in contributing to public dialogue around important social and environmental issues.
“Charities operate in a continuously changing social and economic environment and must be able to contribute to public debate through advocating on issues that are important to their mission,” Edwards said.
“Moves which will either add to their administrative burden or mandate where they should invest their money will be onerous and restrictive.
“Ultimately, more red tape and more reporting requirements means charities will be spending more time filling out forms and complying with regulation than delivering on their promise to donors.
“We welcome the opportunity to take part in the discussion about DGR reform and look forward to working with Treasury and ACNC on this important issue,” he said.
In July a submission by the Community Council for Australia (CCA) to Treasury said members were concerned the paper left “the fundamental question of what is the policy goal of DGR eligibility processes” unanswered.
The submission called on the government to “make a clear definitive statement” about the benefit of increasing DGR contributions, and frame any reform of DGR within a context that “explicitly acknowledges the benefits as well as possible costs, and states the purpose of providing DGR status is enhancing our communities.”
CCA CEO David Crosbie told Pro Bono News at the time that while CCA agreed the current regulations were overdue for reform, members were concerned over the lack of policy goals in this space.
“Charities are becoming increasingly frustrated that they are being asked by governments to account for their outcomes, to demonstrate how they deliver on their purpose, yet some areas of government seem completely oblivious to the need to be clear about their policy goals or to provide any indication of what outcomes they will use to show the policy has or has not succeeded,” Crosbie said.
“The Treasury Discussion Paper on DGR is a classic example of this omission.”