5 donations you can’t claim on tax this year (and 3 you can)
You might have heard that charity donations and other gifts are tax deductible. This is true, but not for all donations. So if you're planning to make a donation in the lead-up to tax time with the intention of claiming it as a tax deduction, make sure the donation meets the eligibility criteria first.
In order to claim a deduction the organisation you're donating to must be an approved deductible gift recipient (DGR) with the ATO.
Of course, there are many reasons why you might want to donate to a particular charity or cause regardless of the tax deduction. But knowing which donations are and are not tax deductible will help you avoid any issues when lodging your tax return.
5 donations you can't claim on tax
- Crowdfunding campaigns. Online crowdfunding campaigns are becoming an increasingly common way to support a cause you care about. However, unless the organiser is an approved DGR organisation, you usually can't claim these donations on tax. This is especially true if the crowdfunding campaign was set up and managed by an individual (e.g. a celebrity or influencer).
- Lottery or raffle tickets. Even if you buy some raffle tickets to support a reputable charity, these can't be claimed on tax. This is because, as far as the ATO is concerned, you're not giving a no-strings-attached donation as you can potentially receive something in return.
- Donating to those in need directly. If you've handed money to someone else in need (e.g. someone experiencing homelessness), this can't be claimed on tax. This is because an individual can't be an approved DGR.
- Fundraising event tickets. If you've purchased tickets to attend a charity fundraising event, these can't be claimed on tax as you've received something in return already (e.g. dinner, drinks and entertainment).
- Membership fees. Annual membership fees to things like an RSL club, surf lifesaving club or rotary club can't be claimed as a deduction.
3 donations you can claim on tax
- Bucket donations. You can claim up to $10 for coin bucket donations without needing a receipt. However, if you want to claim more than $10, you will need a receipt as proof of your donation.
- Donations to approved organisations. Most well-known charities and organisations including The Cancer Council, The Red Cross, Beyond Blue and Youth Off The Streets are approved DGRs. If you're unsure, you can look up the organisation using the government's ABN lookup tool.
- Money given at fundraising events. While you can't claim the cost of the ticket, if you make additional donations to the charity at the event and the charity is an approved DGR, these donations can be claimed.