Australia’s generosity dips, but not all gloom: report

15th June 2011
  • Record number of Australians donated in year 2008/09
  • Mixed crop and livestock farmers gave the highest average tax deductible donations

The GFC may have wiped $253 million from charities' income in 2008-2009 but it seems to have prompted more Australians than ever before to make tax deductible gifts, the latest report from Queensland University of Technology's Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) covering the 2008-2009 tax year, has found.

QUT's Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes, director of ACPNS, said tax deductible giving went down 10.79 per cent in that year.

"But a record number of Australians donated with some 4.65 million, or 38 per cent, of taxpayers making tax-deductible donations. That's an increase of 2.5 per cent on the previous year," Professor McGregor-Lowndes said.

"Victorians, however, bucked the national downward trend - they increased their giving by 27.30 per cent on the previous year.

"With the massive outpouring of more than $379m in donations to the Victorian Bushfire appeal during this period, some may talk of 'donor fatigue'.

"However, compared to the previous year Victoria's gifts rose from $472.67 million to $601.71 (27.30 per cent increase). Its average gift rose from $433.49 to $470.08, an 8.44 per cent rise compared to a drop of nearly 11per cent nationally."

Professor McGregor-Lowndes said this mirrored reported falls in giving in other countries such as the United States (3.6 per cent decrease), United Kingdom (11.4 per cent decrease), and Canada (5.4 per cent decrease).

"New South Wales taxpayers claimed the largest average tax deductible donations of $523.54 compared to the national average of $450.05, giving 0.43 per cent of their taxable income while Victorians gave the largest percentage of their taxable income at 0.45 per cent with an average donation of $470.08," he said.

"Queenslanders donated an average of 0.3 per cent of their taxable income with an average donation of $370.79."

The report, Tax Deductible Giving in 2008 - 2009, gives a breakdown of gifts claimed by postcode and occupation for each state.

"In Queensland, the blue chip suburbs of Ascot and Hamilton were the highest givers for 2008-2009, knocking the Sunshine Coast's Castaways Beach, Noosa Heads and Sunrise Beach postcode out of the spot in the previous year," Professor McGregor-Lowndes said.

"The Hawkesburn and Toorak postcode remained the highest givers in Victoria while in NSW Mosman and The Spit Junction were replaced by the Bronte and Waverley postcode.

"Mixed crop and livestock farmers were the occupation with the highest average gift deduction claimed at $7202.23 while registered nurses and secondary school teachers came 4th and 5th in the occupations for the highest total gifts claimed.

"Nurses (246,560 taxpayers) gave more than $36.7 million while the secondary school teachers who numbered only 123,810 gave $28 million."

An interactive search facility for all Australian postcodes and occupations is now available to find data on tax deductible gift behaviour. Go to: http://www.bus.qut.edu.au/research/cpns/publications/postcode.php

The Tax Deductible Giving report is compiled each year by QUT's Australian Centre of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies.

* To download the executive summary, visit: http://www.bus.qut.edu.au/research/cpns/publications/

** To download the Tax Deductible Giving report, visit: http://eprints.qut.edu.au/41829/

Media contact: Niki Widdowson, QUT media officer, 07 3138 1841 or n.widdowson@qut.edu.au

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