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  • Donations to help disaster victims

    In response to a disaster, you may wish to make a donation to a relief fund or establish a fund yourself.

    On this page:

    Donating to disaster relief appeals

    For a donation to be tax deductible it must be made to a deductible gift recipient (DGR) – an organisation or fund that can receive tax deductible gifts.

    Before making a donation online, via social media, or over the phone, make sure the charity is legitimate. This includes instances where an individual is raising funds on behalf of a registered charity.

    To check that the charity or DGR is legitimate, you can:

    You may not be able to claim a deduction for a contribution to a DGR if you receive a material benefit in return for your gift or donation. For more information, see Is it a gift or contribution?.

    Find out about:

    See also:

    Donations of money

    Gifts of cash to the value of $2 or more to a disaster relief appeal are deductible if the organisation receiving the gift is endorsed as a deductible gift recipient (DGR).

    For most donations, you must retain a receipt if you want to claim a deduction on your tax return. Most DGRs will give you a receipt as evidence of your donation.

    We will also accept third-party receipts as evidence of a donation to a DGR. The receipt must:

    • identify the DGR
    • state the amount of the donation.

    You may give a donation of money to a crowdfunding platform. Crowdfunding platforms are used seek funds for businesses and individuals impacted by natural disasters.

    If you're involved in crowdfunding as a contributor, you need to be aware of the tax consequences. These vary depending on the nature of the arrangement, your role in it and your circumstances (see Crowdfunding).

    Example: Donations on social media

    Fiona clicks on a link in her social media feed to donate to a natural disaster recovery fund. It takes her to the PayPal Giving Fund Australia donation page. She checks the details on the ABN Lookup and confirms it has DGR status. She donates $50 and the social media platform emails her a receipt which she files for tax time.

    Fiona can claim a tax deduction for the donation.

    End of example

     

    Example: Donation in a retail outlet (third-party receipt)

    When buying groceries at the supermarket, Sebastian is asked if he’d like to donate to a rural assistance charity. He agrees to donate $30 on top of the groceries. He pays the total bill with a credit card and is given a receipt. The receipt shows the date and amount of the donation but doesn’t show the name of the charity. The transaction description on the receipt is ‘GIFTDGR’ followed by a lot of numbers.

    When Sebastian lodges his tax return his tax agent uses ABN Lookup to confirm the DGR status of the charity. His tax agent advises that the numbers are the charity’s ABN. As such, Sebastian can use the receipt from the supermarket as evidence of his claim for deduction of the donation.

    End of example

     

    Example: Donation via your bank

    After a national disaster, Litsa’s bank launches a campaign to raise money, in partnership with a DGR charity. Litsa donates $50 from her account to the campaign through her phone banking app and the bank provides her with a transaction receipt.

    The bank isn't a registered DGR but it has made arrangements to collect money as an agent for the charity it has partnered with for the campaign. The bank passes on the funds raised to the charity and receives tax receipts for each client who donates.

    When the bank later provides the DGR receipt to Litsa, she can use that receipt as evidence to support her claim for a tax deduction.

    End of example

     

    Example: Material benefit where a deduction can't be claimed

    Kaira is an office worker. Each year her workplace gets involved in various appeals to raise money and awareness for good causes. Following the recent bushfires in Australia, her office has set up a stall in the foyer and is selling t-shirts showing support for the bushfires, at a cost of $35 each. The stall has been set up to raise money for an endorsed DGR. Kaira purchases a t-shirt.

    Kaira can’t claim a deduction for the cost of the t-shirt as she has received a material benefit in return for her contribution to the bushfire appeal.

    End of example

    Bucket donations

    If you donate to a bucket appeal that has been approved by us for a specific natural disaster (such as bushfires, severe storms or flooding), you can claim a tax deduction equal to your total donations up to $10, without the usual need to keep a receipt.

    Example: Bucket donation

    Alex is attending a festival where volunteers are walking around, shaking a bucket to encourage patrons to donate to a Salvation Army bushfire appeal. Alex gives a donation of $5 to the bucket. She doesn’t get a receipt.

    As this amount is under the ‘no receipt limit’ for bucket donations, Alex can claim a deduction for the $5 donation in her income tax return.

    End of example

    See also:

    Donating property

    If you donate property such as groceries, clothes and other items to a DGR, you may be able to claim a deduction. Certain conditions apply.

    See also:

    Attending fundraising events

    Many DGR fundraising events encourage contributions that provide minor benefits to those who contribute. Where a contributor receives a minor benefit, they may be entitled to a tax deduction.

    Contributions made by individuals to DGRs in relation to eligible fundraising events, such as fetes, balls, gala shows, dinners and charity auctions, may be tax deductible if they meet certain conditions.

    See also:

    Setting up a tax-deductible appeal

    If your organisation wishes to collect money for disaster relief, you may wish to arrange for an established DGR to collect the donations. The DGR will already have the required infrastructure in place to collect gifts that are tax deductible and issue receipts.

    If your organisation wants to establish its own tax deductible appeal fund, you need to consider whether your organisation (or the fund) can be endorsed by us as a DGR.

    You can phone us on 1300 130 248 about fundraising events and setting up an appeal fund.

    Crowdfunding

    You can use crowdfunding platforms to seek funds for businesses and individuals impacted by natural disasters.

    If you're involved in crowdfunding – whether you are a promoter, intermediary or contributor – you need to be aware of the tax consequences. These vary depending on the nature of the arrangement, your role in it and your circumstances.

    Example: Gifts made to a crowdfunding platform – not ded uctible

    Sam creates a crowdfunding page to raise money for his local dog shelter. People donate money to Sam. Sam is not a registered charity with the ACNC nor does he have DGR status from us. People may give any amounts they wish to Sam, but will not be able to claim a tax deduction for those gifts.

    End of example

    See also:

    Last modified: 16 Jan 2020QC 21529