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5303123 SCHOOLS : DONATIONS & BEQUESTS Paul Ingram, Partner, Minter Ellison.

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Presentation on theme: "5303123 SCHOOLS : DONATIONS & BEQUESTS Paul Ingram, Partner, Minter Ellison."— Presentation transcript:


2 5303123 SCHOOLS : DONATIONS & BEQUESTS Paul Ingram, Partner, Minter Ellison

3 The starting point Schools run on a NFP basis are generally charitable, but are generally not Deductible Gift Recipients (DGRs) How can they access DGR status?

4 Topics to be covered Deductibility – general principles Accessing DGR status Managing your gifts NFP reform

5 1. Deductibility – general principles

6 Deductibility Tax legislation provides for deductibility of two different things: Gifts Contributions

7 What is a gift? Made voluntarily Not for consideration Not pursuant to, or in discharge of, a legal obligation Gifts arise by way of benefaction DGR advantaged without significant detriment (eg. onerous conditions, or obligations to pass on to a third party)

8 What is a gift? (cont.) No material benefit or advantage received by donor in return Sponsorship is not a gift Charity dinners Anti-avoidance rules Section 78A of ITAA 1936

9 Tax Treatment of Gifts Tax rules differ depending on: Subject matter of the gift Money Property Whether the gift is made: Inter vivos (‘Donations’) By Will (‘Bequests’)

10 Taxation: gifts to DGRs Donations (inter vivos) Bequests (by Will) Money DeductibleNot deductible Property Deductible (subject to certain rules) Not deductible CGT payable (unless under CGP) CGT exempt

11 Contributions Since 1 July 2004, you can get a deduction for contributions (money or property) made: In return for a right to attend or participate in certain “fund-raising events” Fetes, balls, gala shows, dinners, performances & similar events Because you were the successful bidder at a charity auction

12 Contributions But some important limitations Only individuals can claim Cash contributions must exceed $150 Valuation rules re property contributions Benefit received must not exceed the lesser of $150 or 20% of value of contribution Only get deduction for the difference between amount of contribution and benefit received

13 Contributions The lesser of $150 and 20% test causes some real problems Too low? Valuations/receipts

14 2. Accessing DGR status

15 Accessing DGR status Schools and school “foundations” are generally not DGR No relevant DGR category Gifts to schools/foundations unlikely to be deductible Need to set up specific funds Building funds Scholarship funds

16 Building funds Item 2.1.10 Public fund established and maintained solely for providing money for the acquisition, construction or maintenance of a building used, or to be used, as a school or college…

17 Building funds Building Range of structures Recent ATOID re covered outdoor learning areas But not outdoor courts and pools, or carparks Fixtures Air conditioning Solar hot water systems Carpets

18 Building funds Building used as a school or college Used for a purpose which is connected with the curriculum of the school Old ruling TR96/8 was a bit restrictive Eg. Sports facilities But more recent documents are pretty broad

19 Building funds Multi-purpose buildings Acceptable if primary and principal use is as a school or college More than 50% of time (eg. Hall used for school purposes each weekday, but as a place of worship on weekends) Complexity if part used as school, other parts not

20 Building funds What can the BF pay for? Purchase of land (where definite plans to build) Construction expenditure and associated finance costs Capital improvements and maintenance Fixtures Reasonable costs of running the fund

21 Building funds BF must be used exclusively as above Money must be kept separate from other money of school Be careful re “multi-purpose” fundraising

22 Building funds BF can be established in two different ways: Internal fund Separate trust Some compulsory clauses either way

23 Scholarship funds Item 2.1.13 Public fund established and maintained solely for providing money for scholarships, bursaries or prizes to which section 30–37 applies

24 Scholarship funds Requirements under section 30-37 May only be awarded to Australian citizens or permanent residents Open to individuals or groups throughout Australia, a State or Territory, or a region of at least 200,000 people

25 Scholarship funds Requirements (cont.) Must promote the recipient’s education in: An approved Australian course An educational institution overseas, by way of study of a component of an approved Australian course

26 Scholarship funds Requirements (cont.) Must be awarded on merit, or for reasons of equity Merit can include non-academic criteria But only where sufficiently connected with the educational objectives Equity Socio-economic disadvantage Disability and other special needs

27 Scholarship funds SF can either: Provide money directly to participants Provide money to another organisation which pays the scholarships, bursaries, prizes

28 Scholarship funds SF can be established in two different ways: Internal fund Separate trust

29 3. Managing your gifts

30 Managing your gifts The specific DGR funds can be managed by the school board But if you want separate control Appoint a dedicated committee; or Provide for management by a separate entity (eg. a foundation)

31 Using a foundation If you do use a separate foundation, you need to consider income tax exemption School is probably income tax exempt But the foundation will only be tax exempt if it is endorsed under Div 50 Charitable institution Charitable fund

32 Using a foundation (cont.) Income tax exemption is straightforward if Building/Scholarship Fund is established as a separate trust Trust gets endorsed as a charitable fund Trustee (the foundation) does not need its own endorsement, unless has its own funds

33 Using a foundation (cont.) But if the Building/Scholarship Fund is just an internal fund of the foundation, some care needed ATO view that organisations which just manage funds are not ‘institutions’, and are therefore not ‘charitable institutions’

34 Using a foundation ATO have not really attempted to push this view to date Many school foundations are currently endorsed as charitable institutions Difficult to argue that a foundation set up as an incorporated body, with its own board and at least some fundraising and other activities is not an ‘institution’?

35 Responsible persons Building/Scholarship Fund must be controlled or administered by persons or institutions having a degree of responsibility to the community as a whole Need a majority of the board/committee to be ‘Responsible Persons’

36 Responsible persons Definition pretty broad – includes: School principals Clergymen Solicitors and other professionals Politicians Order of Australia recipients

37 Drafting of donations and bequests Conditional gifts are a potential problem TD 2004/23 and recent private rulings Donor may lose deduction! Avoid creating a trust Requires its own tax endorsements! Expression of intent only Words negating any trust

38 Accounting issues The Building and Scholarship Funds need to be kept separate from each other, and from other funds of the school/foundation Separate bank account for each Clear accounting procedures Section 382-15 of the TAA 1953

39 Governance Prudent steps Have someone on the board/committee who is familiar with ATO requirements Prepare a manual for board/committee members Have a standing item to review that manual, and compliance with ATO requirements generally

40 4. NFP reform

41 What’s happening? Amendment of ‘in Australia’ requirements New ruling re charities: TR 2011/4 Proposed: Profits from ‘unrelated commercial activities’ New national NFP regulator Statutory definition of ‘charity’

42 Unrelated commercial activities (UCAs) First aspect Proposal is to tax profits derived from UCAs of charities, where those profits are not directed back to their altruistic purpose ATO seems to be worried about accumulation of such profits

43 Unrelated commercial activities (UCAs) Second aspect If carry on UCAs, you won’t have access to DGR, FBT or GST concessions in support of those activities Concern that this may force many NFPs to restructure Restructure costs Ongoing costs

44 Unrelated commercial activities (UCAs) What commercial activities are related? Activities that are only for the sake of, or in aid of, or in furtherance of, the charitable purpose School using its hall to run bingo two afternoons a week School operating a tuck shop, including sale of uniforms, textbooks etc

45 Unrelated commercial activities (UCAs) Even if activities are unrelated, there will be some important exceptions Passive investments Small scale activities Chocolate fundraising, school fetes Existing commercial activities will be grandfathered (at least for a while)

46 Unrelated commercial activities (UCAs) Where has the proposal got to? Rules supposed to apply from 1 July 2011 Consultation paper (27 May 2011) Remains to be seen whether Government will defer the start date

47 New national NFP regulator Australian Charities & Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC) to start 1 July 2012 Will take over some ATO roles Will eventually play a role in Standardised regulation/reporting Harmonisation with State concessions Public information portal by 1 July 2013

48 Statutory definition of ‘Charity’ Common law definition seen as vague and perhaps a bit outdated Attempt at statutory definition in 2003 largely failed Labour Government wants to have another go (from 1 July 2013)

49 Statutory definitions of ‘Charity’ Consultation paper released on 28 October 2011 Are the three main heads of charity – religion, education and poverty – still appropriate? Lobbying should be ok Submissions close 9 December 2011


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