Friday, August 24, 2012

The Australian Christian Lobby welcomes the introduction of legislation to establish the new Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) but is concerned about the impact of some provisions in the bill for churches and other not-for-profit organisations.

Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury introduced draft legislation to establish the ACNC and also to amend special conditions for tax exemption.

The Special Conditions bill will establish a new “in Australia” test, which will require that an organisation must operate principally in Australia to retain tax exempt status. This means that organisations which operate overseas or direct funds to overseas operations risk losing tax exempt status, which in turn means less money going to the world’s poor.

ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace says that the bill is alarming for charities and not-for-profit organisations.

“There is concern that charitable organisations providing overseas aid may be significantly impacted by this bill,” he said.

“Further, there will be less incentive for businesses or individuals to make charitable donations if they are not tax deductible.”

“Charities and not-for-profits make enormous contributions, not only in Australian society, but where it is most needed in other parts of the world,” he said.

“It is essential that in a wealthy country like Australia, charities can continue to operate efficiently and people are encouraged to give generously to help those in need.”