When can I claim?
You can claim a deduction for a donation you make to an organisation if the donation meets four conditions:
- You make it to a deductible gift recipient (DGR)
- It must truly be a donation. A donation is a voluntary transfer of money or property where you receive no material benefit or advantage*
- It must be money or property, which includes financial assets such as shares
- You have a record of the donation (eg a receipt).
* If you receive a material benefit – that is if the donor receives something which has a monetary value from the DGR in return for their donation – it is considered a contribution, and extra conditions apply. Visit ato.gov.au/gift-or-contribution for more information.
What is a DGR?
A deductible gift recipient (DGR) is an organisation or fund that can receive tax deductible gifts.
Not all charities are DGRs. For example, in recent times there has been an influx of crowdfunding campaigns. Many of these crowdfunding websites are not run by DGRs.
You can check whether your donation was made to an endorsed DGR on the Australian Business Register website abn.business.gov.au/DgrListing.aspx.
What records do I need?
When you make a donation, the DGR will usually issue you with a receipt – but they don’t have to. If this is the case, in some circumstances, you can still claim a tax deduction by using other records, such as bank statements.
If a DGR issues a receipt for a deductible gift, the receipt must state:
- the name of the fund, authority or institution to which the donation has been made
- the DGR’s ABN (if any – some DGRs listed by name might not have an ABN)
- that the receipt is for a gift.
If you give through a workplace giving program your payment summary or a written record from your employer is sufficient evidence.
If you made one or more donations of $2 or more to bucket collections conducted by an approved organisation for natural disaster victims, you can claim a tax deduction of up to $10 for the total of those contributions without a receipt. Further information is available on the ATO website.
When you can and can’t claim a deduction
You may be able to claim a deduction when:
- the gift or donation is $2 or more and you have a record of the donation
- you donate property or shares, however special rules apply (see ato.gov.au/gifts-and-fundraising-rules)
- there are special circumstances under the Heritage and Cultural gift programs where donations can also be deductible (see ato.gov.au/cultural-gifts for more detail).
You can’t claim gifts or donations as a deduction when it is for:
- the purchase of raffle or art union tickets (eg RSL Art Union Prize home)
- the purchase of fundraising items such as chocolates, badges and pens
- the cost of attending fundraising dinners, even if the cost exceeds the value of the dinner
- payments to school building funds made, for example, as an alternative to an increase in school fees
- gifts to families and friends regardless of the reason
- donations made under a salary sacrifice arrangement
- donations made under a will.
Gifts and donations to political parties and independent candidates and members
In some circumstances, your gifts and donations to registered political parties and independent candidates may be claimed as a deduction.
Your gift or donation must be $2 or more and be money or property that you purchased during the 12 months before making the donation. This includes if you pay a membership subscription to a registered political party. You must also make the gift or donation as an individual, not in the course of carrying on a business, and it can’t be a testamentary donation.
The most you can claim in an income year is:
- $1,500 for contributions and gifts to political parties, and
- $1,500 for contributions and gifts to independent candidates and members.
To claim a deduction you must keep a written record of your donation.
To find out who is registered, go to: ato.gov.au/political-gifts.