House of Representatives

Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 5) Bill 2018

Explanatory Memorandum

(Circulated by authority of the Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Stuart Robert MP)

Chapter 3 Extending DGR status to entities promoting Indigenous languages

Outline of chapter

3.1 Schedule 3 extends DGR status to entities promoting Indigenous languages.

Context of amendments

3.2 The income tax law allows income tax deductions for taxpayers who make gifts of $2 or more to a DGR. DGRs are entities which fall within one or more of the general categories set out in Division 30 of the ITAA 1997 or are specifically listed by name in that Division.

3.3 DGR status helps eligible organisations attract public financial support for their activities.

3.4 The income tax law provides support to 'cultural organisations' that have a principal purpose of, amongst other things, promoting the arts of Indigenous persons. However, prior to these amendments this did not include organisations that had a principal purpose of promoting the languages of Indigenous persons.

3.5 There are estimated to be 250 original Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and over 600 dialects. The Government has a range of other measures in place to prevent the loss of these languages.

3.6 In the 2017-18 MYEFO, the Government announced that it would extend DGR status to organisations that have a principal purpose of promoting Indigenous languages. The extension of DGR status adds to the existing Government initiatives that support Indigenous culture and provides appropriate assistance through the tax system for the public to make donations to these organisations.

Summary of new law

3.7 Schedule 3 extends DGR status to entities promoting Indigenous languages.

Detailed explanation of new law

3.8 The eligibility criteria for an entity to be eligible to be endorsed as an entity on the register of cultural organisations is amended so that it includes entities that have the principal purpose of promoting Indigenous languages. [Schedule 3, item 1, subsection 30-300(2) of the ITAA 1997]

3.9 The term 'Indigenous person' is defined in the ITAA 1997 to mean a member of the Aboriginal race of Australia, or a descendant of an Indigenous inhabitant of the Torres Strait Islands. The languages of Indigenous persons are intended to refer to the traditional or historical languages of those persons. Extending DGR eligibility to organisations that promote these languages will assist in the languages' preservation.

Application and transitional provisions

3.10 The amendments in Schedule 3 commence on 1 July 2019. [Clause 2]

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