There are some worrying trends in terms of our giving behaviour based on the latest data from the ATO. The proportion of taxpayers who claim a deduction for donating is in decline, although the average amount claimed is increasing. At the same time, 44% of taxpayers with a taxable income above A$1 million did not claim a single deduction for a donation to a “deductible gift recipient”.
Australia is about to witness the largest intergenerational wealth transfer in our history, with estimates that in the next two decades A$2.4 trillionwill pass from “baby boomers” to the next generation. But giving through bequests made in wills is currently low.
One study estimated that in 2012, only 7.6% of wills had a charitable bequest, and they accounted for only 2.7% of the total value of estates. So, although Australians should be proud of the giving we do, there is clearly room for improvement. We really should have tens of thousands of PAFs, sub-funds and charitable trusts in Australia, not just a few thousand.
What will ultimately drive the growth of giving, both large and small, is the culture of giving we foster in Australia. Part of the solution, particularly at the larger end of the scale, is to ensure we have the right incentives and structures in place to encourage it. But we also need to look at other ways to inspire more giving – growing our culture of giving is not something you can do overnight.