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Donations to charities declining

A new research paper has shown concerning trends in Australians’ giving.  “An Examination of Tax-Deductible Donations Made By Individual Australian Taxpayers in 2015–16”, authored by Emeritus Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes and Marie Crittall at The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, Queensland University of Technology Brisbane, has been released.

The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) is a specialist research and teaching unit at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia

The study uses information based on published Australian Taxation Office (ATO) material and represents the extent of tax-deductible donations made and claimed by Australian taxpayers to Deductible Gift Recipients (DGRs) at Item D9 Gifts or Donations in their individual income tax returns for the 2015–16 income year.

The study showed that the total amount donated and claimed as tax-deductible donations in 2015–16 was $2.9 billion (compared to $3.1 billion for the previous income year). This constitutes an 8.9% decrease or $221 million from the previous income year. The average tax-deductible donation made to DGRs and claimed by Australian taxpayers in 2015-16 was $633.72 (compared to $674.14 in the previous income year).

The following is a summary of some of the significant statistics from the ATO Taxation Statistics data from 2015–16 that are further analysed in this paper.

  • The total amount donated and claimed as tax-deductible donations in 2015–16 was $2.9 billion (compared to $3.1 billion for the previous income year). This constitutes a decrease of $221 million (or 7.2%) from the previous income year.
  • In 2015–16, individual taxpayers claimed $35.63 billion in personal tax deductions. Of this amount, 8.02% of deductions claimed were tax-deductible gifts, compared to 6.33% for the cost of managing tax affairs and 61.70% for work-related expenses.
  • The average tax-deductible donation made to DGRs and claimed by Australian taxpayers in 2015–16 was $633.72 (compared to $674.14 in the previous income year). This is a decrease of 6%. However, the median tax-deductible donation was $110 (compared to $105 for the previous year).
  • In 2015–16, 4.51 million Australian taxpayers (or 33.40% of the Australian taxpaying population) made and claimed tax-deductible donations. This has decreased from the previous year when 34.58% or 4.57 million taxpayers made and claimed a gift.
  • On average, those individual taxpayers who make tax-deductible donations to DGRs donated approximately 0.36% of their taxable income in 2015–16. This has decreased by 10.46% from 0.40% in 2014–15.

Further findings in giving trends are available in the paper in relation to:

  • Gender
  • State of Residence
  • Income Bands
  • Tax-Deductible Gifts by Postcode
  • Tax-Deductible Gifts by Occupation

For more information and a complete copy of the report visit the QUT website at https://eprints.qut.edu.au/119001/