A guide to charitable donations

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When you donate to charity, your gifts may be a tax deductible donation that can boost your tax refund.

There are many charities in Australia that rely on donations to continue their good work and nine out of 10 of us give to charity each year*. Here we provide a guide to making your gift go further and claiming your donation back at tax time.

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What are some ways to give?

According to consumer group Choice, some great ways to give to charity are to give directly or to volunteer. More than 30% of Australia’s adult population volunteer with various not-for-profit organisations, giving an average of 56 hours per year. If you are interested in volunteering some of your time, visit the Go Volunteer website to find out about opportunities in your area.

Less effective ways to give are charity dinners and balls, as the cost of the venue and catering can eat into your donation. Charity telemarketers also take a cut of the money you give.

Tips for claiming charitable donations

Charitable donations are generally tax-deductible but before claiming any donations on your tax return, here are a few tips:

  • The charity must be classified as a deductible gift recipient (DGR). To check, visit the Australian Business Register.
  • To qualify for a tax refund, your gift must be greater than $2. Keep receipts for any donations you make.
  • The gift must truly be a gift – a voluntary transfer of money where you receive no benefit or advantage. You cannot claim items such as raffle tickets; items such as pens or chocolate or membership fees.

*Charity donations guide, Choice, September 2014

The Wayside Chapel

The Wayside Chapel in King’s Cross is a place where people suffering homelessness, mental health and substance abuse issues can go for support and access to health, welfare and social services.

In the last year alone, Wayside provided over 14,000 hours of support to people with mental health issues, almost 8,000 community meals and over 6,000 instances of support for at-risk young people.

Recently the charity expanded to Bondi, where it plans to transform the Chapel by the Sea into a café, chapel and co-working space.

Wayside marketing manager Eimear Elkington says the charity relies on assistance from more than 500 volunteers who cover 250 shifts each week.

“Our volunteers are incredibly important to us and provide the horsepower for the program areas. Volunteers are worth over $1 million each year in terms of the time they give to us and our visitors,” Elkington says.

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