Australian Gift Deductions Take a Great Leap Forward
12 October 2017 at 8:10 am
Australians are claiming their charitable gifts in tax returns more than ever with a total of $3.1 billion donated in the 2014-15 tax year – delivering a 15 per cent increase, according to new research which has described the result as a “great leap forward”.
Overall tax deductible donations rose by $464 million on the previous year.
The annual taxation statistics report produced by QUT’s Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS), analysed Australian Taxation Office statistics on tax-deductible giving for the period and discovered the total tax-deductible donations made by Australians “far exceeded inflation”.
ACPNS Emeritus Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes told Pro Bono News that the wealthy had “come back to giving”.
He said more than 200,000 taxpayers with an income over $180,000 had contributed nearly $1.18 billion which accounted for much of the growth in the period.
“The story here is that the wealthy have certainly given far more and the resulting increase in giving is in large part by those earning more than $180,000 and particularly those over $1 million,” McGregor-Lowndes said.
“I was surprised it went up in that financial year. There is a lag in ATO data because of tax returns. Tax giving has levelled out as we know from other private research and [more recently] Giving Australia research.
“When you [analyse] the data, the levelling out [of donations] has actually occurred in the lower income bands… the dramatic uplift is in those between $180,000 and over $1 million.
“However just over a half of taxpayers in the $180,000-plus income bracket claimed a donation.”
The report found that overall 4.57 million Australian taxpayers claimed deductible gifts in 2014-2015, with the average donation $674.14, an increase of 17.11 per cent from 2013-2014.
Areas that received the most from individuals were religion ($3.3 billion), international aid ($2.1 billion) and health ($1.9 billion).
A further $1.3 billion was given to charities and NFPs through gambling and other activities such as raffles, event tickets and auction items.
A total of 1,464,399 taxpayers in New South Wales claimed tax-deductible donations to deductible gift recipients (DGRs) totalling $1.23 billion. This amount represented 39.78 per cent of the national total.
The next largest donor state was Victoria whose taxpayers made and claimed tax-deductible donations to DGRs totalling $942.85 million, representing 30.61 per cent of the national total.
Queensland taxpayers claimed tax-deductible donations totalling $382.42 million, followed by Western Australia with $250.56 million.
Women gave a higher proportion of their income than men, but men gave more overall.
McGregor-Lowndes said this outcome had remained the same for the past 20 years.
“Judges, magistrates, members of parliament and medical professionals claimed the highest median tax-deductible donations of all professions,” he said.
The Victorian suburbs of Hawksburn and Toorak (donations via postcode) topped the country, giving more than $100 million.
Taxpayers in Ascot, Hamilton Central and Hamilton gave the most overall in Queensland while those in Eagle Farm claimed the largest average deductible gift in the state.
In New South Wales, Dover Heights, HMAS Watson, Rose Bay North and Vaucluse claimed on average $21,566.27 per taxpayer.