Australian boost – Impact on giving

Families and companies now can set up and control their own philanthropic foundations under new Australian Taxation Office rules, reported July 13.

Donations to the new charities, known as “prescribed private funds,” are tax-deductible even if the board of the foundation or trust does not include public representatives.

Previously, donations to a foundation or trust with “deductible gift recipient status” were tax-deductible only if the foundation’s board had public representatives.

Under the new rules, donations can be kept secret because the accounts are not published, and there is no need to seek other donors.

The new rules grew out of recommendations from the Prime Minister’s Community-Business Partnership, a group set up in February 2000 encourage greater philanthropy in Australia.

David Gonski, a lawyer who is chairman of the partnership’s taxation working groups, told that the new rules will change philanthropy in the country.

In the six years through 2000, donations to charities fell 12 percent to 16 percent, according to a report by Adshan Consulting, a nonprofit consultant.

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