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  • Gifts and donations – it pays to learn what you can claim at tax time

    When can I claim?

    You can claim a deduction for a donation you make to an organisation if the donation meets four conditions:

    • you make it to a deductible gift recipient (DGR)
    • it must truly be a donation. A donation is a voluntary transfer of money or property where you receive no material benefit or advantage
    • it must be money or property, which includes financial assets such as shares
    • you have a record of the donation such as a receipt.

    If you receive a material benefit – that is if the donor receives something which has a monetary value from the DGR in return for their donation – it is considered a contribution, and extra conditions apply.

    What is a DGR?

    A deductible gift recipient (DGR) is an organisation or fund that can receive tax deductible gifts.

    Not all charities are DGRs. For example, in recent times there has been an influx of crowdfunding campaigns. Many of these crowdfunding websites are not run by DGRs so donations to them can't be claimed.

    You can check whether your donation was made to an endorsed DGR on the Australian Business RegisterExternal Link website.

    What records do I need?

    You should keep records of all tax-deductible gifts and contributions you make.

    When you make a donation, the DGR will usually issue you with a receipt – but they don’t have to. If this is the case, in some circumstances, you can still claim a tax deduction by using other records, such as bank statements.

    If a DGR issues a receipt for a deductible gift, the receipt must state:

    • the name of the fund, authority or institution to which the donation has been made
    • the DGR's ABN (if one exists – some DGRs listed by name might not have an ABN)
    • that the receipt is for a gift.

    If you give through a workplace giving program your payment summary or a written record from your employer is sufficient evidence.

    Bucket donations

    If you made one or more donations of $2 or more to bucket collections conducted by an approved organisation for natural disaster victims, you can claim a tax deduction of up to $10 for the total of those contributions without a receipt.

    When I can and can’t claim a deduction

    You may be able to claim gifts or donations as a deduction when:

    • the gift or donation is $2 or more and you have a record of the donation
    • you donate property or shares, however special rules apply
    • there are special circumstances under the Heritage and Cultural gift programs where donations can also be deductible
    • you receive a token item for your donation. Token items are things of no purpose that are used to promote a DGR, such as lapel pins, wristbands and stickers.

    You can’t claim gifts or donations as a deduction when they provide you with a personal benefit, such as:

    • the purchase of raffle or art union tickets such as an RSL Art Union Prize home
    • the purchase of fundraising items that have an advertised price and can be used, such as chocolates, mugs, keyrings, caps or toys
    • club membership
    • the cost of attending fundraising dinners, even if the cost exceeds the value of the dinner
    • payments to school building funds made in return for a benefit or advantage, for example, as an alternative to an increase in school fees or as a placement on a waiting list
    • gifts to families and friends regardless of the reason
    • donations made under a salary sacrifice arrangement
    • donations made under a will.

    You can’t claim a tax deduction for donations made to social media, crowdfunding platforms or memberships (such as sporting club memberships) unless they are a registered DGR.

    Gifts and donations to political parties and independent candidates and members

    In some circumstances, your gifts and donations to registered political parties and independent candidates may be claimed as a deduction.

    Your gift or donation must be $2 or more and be money or property that you purchased during the 12 months before making the donation. This includes if you pay a membership subscription to a registered political party. You must also make the gift or donation as an individual, not in the course of carrying on a business, and it can’t be a testamentary donation.

    The most you can claim in an income year is:

    • $1,500 for contributions and gifts to political parties
    • $1,500 for contributions and gifts to independent candidates and members.

    To claim a deduction, you must keep a written record of your donation.

    To find out who is registered, go to: Claiming political contributions and gifts.

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      Last modified: 30 Jun 2021QC 59240