The Australian government has moved to expand eligibility for deductible gift recipient (DGR) status to community foundations.
Charities Minister Andrew Leigh said the proposed legislation would open a pathway for 28 community foundations to be endorsed as DGRs.
“This encourages philanthropic giving and supports the not-for-profit sector by allowing taxpayers to claim income tax deductions for gifts and donations made to deductible gift recipients,” said Mr Leigh.
The changes are contained in the Treasury Laws Amendment (Support for Small Business and Charities and Other Measures) Bill 2023 introduced into federal parliament.
The proposed amendments address the fact that community charity trusts and community charity corporations do not fit neatly into any of the 52 DGR categories administered by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).
The Bill creates a new class of community charities that may apply for DGR endorsement by the ACNC Commissioner consisting of community charity trusts and community charity corporations.
While the new framework will initially only apply to a small number of named community charities, additional organisations could be brought within the scope of the rules in future, by being specified in ministerial declarations as “candidates for endorsement”.
It is hoped the changes will encourage philanthropic support for the foundations and contribute to the government’s goal of doubling philanthropy by 2030.
Among those specifically named in the Bill as DGR recipients are Justice Reform Initiative Limited and Transparency International Australia.
Community Council for Australia (CCA) CEO David Crosbie said it the move was significant.
“Community Foundations can play a critical role, particularly in local and regional communities where people want to see the benefit of their donations reflected in positive changes to their communities,” he said.
Mr Crosbie said it was previously difficult for community foundations to obtain DGR status and in some cases, they were restricted in which charities they could or could not support.
“This is a positive step that expands DGR eligibility, but CCA believes there is still a long way to go to ensure equity and fairness in the way DGR is currently available to some charities but not others.”
Albany Community Foundation
Australian Communities Foundation
Bass Coast Community Foundation
Border Trust [based in Albury]
Community Foundation for Tumut Region
Denmark Community Foundation
Eyre Peninsula Foundation
Fleurieu Community Foundation
Geelong Community Foundation
Hands Across Canberra
Inner North Community Foundation [based in Northcote]
Into Our Hands Community Foundation [based in Myrtleford]
Mackay Community Foundation
Mirboo North & District Community Foundation
Northern Rivers Community Foundation
Red Earth Community Foundation [based in Durong]
South West Community Foundation [based in Warrnambool]
Southern Highlands Foundation
Stand Like Stone [based in Mount Gambier]
Sydney Community Foundation
Tomorrow Today Foundation [based in Benalla]
Upper Murray Innovation Foundation