14th June 2018

Australia has recorded its first drop in the value of tax-deductible charitable donations since the Global Financial Crisis, with fewer Australians giving – and giving lower amounts - according to an analysis by QUT's Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies of ATO data.

  • QUT’s ACPNS report analyses Australian Taxation Office statistics on tax-deductible giving for the 2015-16 financial year
  • A total of $2.9 billion was donated in 2015–16, which represented a 7.2 per cent ($221 million) decrease on the previous year. There was an exceptional 15 per cent increase, or $464 million in 2014-15
  • The percentage of Australian taxpayers making deductible gifts has been in decline since 2011-12, decreasing from 34.58% in 2014-15 to 33.40% in 2015-16
  • The average tax-deductible gift amount was $633.72
  • Based on gender, women gave a higher proportion of their income than men - but men gave more overall
  • The analysis is based on ATO data from individuals’ income tax returns and therefore does not include giving by corporate and trust taxpayers or non-deductible donations, such as raffle tickets, sponsorships and volunteering. Total giving (including non-tax giving) in 2016 was estimated to be $11.2 billion

ACPNS Emeritus Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes said the postcode with the highest tax-deductible donations was 2030 in New South Wales.

“Residents there gave a total of $46.12 million, but we should keep in mind that the 2030 postcode takes in high-income suburbs such Dover Heights, HMAS Watson, Rose Bay North, Vaucluse, and Watsons Bay,” Professor McGregor-Lowndes said.

“The analysis also showed that chief executives and managing directors once again claimed the most tax deductible donations, at $277.55 million. Ministers of Religion were also generous and made the highest deductible gifts in relation to their taxable income.

“When it comes to occupations with the highest percentage of donating taxpayers, police came out on top for the sixth year in a row, with almost three-quarters of officers giving, followed by school principals,” he said.

In addition to having the top suburb, New South Wales also topped the country for the highest total deductible donations, followed by Victoria and Queensland.

“The Sunshine State gave a total of $380.06 million in deductible gifts but, interestingly, Queensland was second lowest on the list when it came to the percentage of taxable income donated. It managed just 0.26 per cent, compared to the national average of 0.36 per cent,” Professor McGregor-Lowndes said.

Other suburb and occupation data is available from the ACPNS.

A copy of the ACPNS tax-deductible giving report, containing analysis of tax-deductible giving by postcode, gender, state and occupation, is available for download.

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