Research Roundup, September 2021: What is the state of tax-deductible giving in Australia?

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Introducing our Research Roundup – a regular ACP feature created to give you an insight into the work academics are undertaking around community philanthropy. Dr. Alexandra Williamson, ACP individual member and academic at the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) at Queensland University of Technology, takes a look at a research paper or study addressing the issues Australia’s network of Community Foundations care about.

What are we reading this month?

An Examination of Tax-Deductible Donations Made By Individual Australian Taxpayers in 2018-19. Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS), QUT.

Who wrote it?

Myles McGregor-Lowndes, Marie Balczun, and me!

What are their day jobs?

The authors are all from the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Myles McGregor-Lowndes is an Emeritus Professor and was the Founding Director of the Centre, Marie Balczun is a Senior Research Assistant, and I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow.

Who published it?

QUT publishes this analysis every year, usually around August.

Where’s the research based?

Australia.

What’s it about?

An analysis of the donations made and claimed by individual Australian taxpayers in the 2018-19 year. As well as looking at the data for the whole nation, we break down donations by gender and age, by state or territory of residence, by postcode, by income band and by occupation.

Why should I read it?

It’s a great summary of tax deductible giving for the given year, but also frequently provides an analysis over multiple decades, illustrating patterns over time in this type of giving. There’s also a short section on Public Ancillary Funds from p.30 onwards.

The ATO Taxation Statistics on which the Working Paper is based are one of the few ways in which donation information is collected on a rigorous basis in Australia. They provide useful trend data as the information is collected annually on much the same basis. Other giving surveys are usually snapshots with different questions, methodology and definitions of what is a gift or donation, and small numbers of participants.

That’s interesting. Have you got an insight from the report to get me started?

“The total amount donated and claimed as tax-deductible donations in 2018–19 was $3.93 billion (compared to $3.75 billion for the previous income year). This constitutes an increase of 4.85 per cent or $182 million from the previous income year. The average tax-deductible donation made to DGRs and claimed by Australian taxpayers in 2018–19 was $933.20 (compared to $845.73 in the previous income year). This is an increase of 10.34 per cent.”

Okay, so where’s the link?

Download a copy of the Working Paper here.

If a 95-page report seems a bit too long and daunting, there’s a shorter Information Sheet available here.


Full citation

McGregor-Lowndes, M., Balczun, M., & Williamson, A. (2021). An Examination of Tax-Deductible Donations Made By Individual Australian Taxpayers in 2018-19. Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS), QUT. https://doi.org/10.5204/rep.eprints.212682

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