1) Individuals don’t give away a very big share of income
Analysis of the latest tax data by Queensland University of Technology’s Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies shows tax-deductible donations made by individuals climbed to a record high of $3.1 billion in 2014-15. But the share of income being donated is less impressive. On average, individual taxpayers who made tax-deductible donations gave just 0.4 per cent of their taxable income.
2) Charities depend heavily on the super rich
An elite group of just 6600 taxpayers with taxable incomes above the $1 million mark made more than a fifth of all tax-deductible donations in 2014-15. “Wealthier people have more discretion to give,” says McGregor-Lowndes.
3) Even so, the rich don’t necessarily donate the biggest share of their incomes
When it comes to the proportion of income that people give away, middle- and low-income neighbourhoods often outshine wealthy ones. The National Australia Bank’s charitable giving index shows those donating the biggest share of their income tend to come from suburbs with modest incomes.
4) Some occupations stand out
Ministers of religion claimed an average of 2.2 per cent of their taxable income as gifts – the highest proportion of any occupation. Mcgregor-Lowndes puts this down to the need for them to set an example to others.
The occupation with the biggest share claiming charitable tax deductions were police and other emergency service workers (73 per cent).
5) There are signs we are finding it harder to be generous
It appears sluggish wages growth and subdued consumer confidence are taking a toll on charitable giving.