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ACNC Commissioner’s Column – 26 July 2018


In July, the ACNC’s Education team hosted two webinars aimed at charity board members – one on managing of conflicts of interest within a charity, and one focusing on internal disputes and how to resolve them.

ACNC webinars are free resources, designed specifically for people working or volunteering for a registered charity. They provide insights on a wide range of topics that may impact your charity.

To  view the videos and presentations of past webinars, or sign up for the remaining sessions in 2018, click here.


A compulsory donation is not a gift, no matter who receives it

David Griggs and Liam Smith from Monash University have published a paper about ‘Giving for Good’, which recommends making a charity (or community) ‘donation’ compulsory for high income earners. The rationale is that it would ‘close financial gaps in society’. The paper contains two major errors and one suggestion that they may want to reconsider.

The first error is the assertion that ‘closing financial gaps in society’ could be a charitable purpose. Alleviation of poverty is a charitable purpose, relieving disadvantage is a charitable purpose, but reducing inequality is not a charitable purpose.

The second error is the idea that a donation can be made compulsory. A donation is voluntary, it is a gift with no expectation of reward. To compel someone to donate, is to convert a donation into a tax.

Of course, there is some satisfaction in knowing that your taxes go to a good cause, but there are many essential, but non-charitable, uses for taxation monies.

The suggestion, which they may want to reconsider, is that someone may direct to which cause their taxes go. Such voluntary taxation can backfire.

If taxpayers get an appetite for directing their taxes to some programs and not others, how is this to be sorted in a practical way? Should the entire revenue side of the Commonwealth Budget be voted on by taxpayers?

And, what happens if some programs fall short of funds due to lack of taxpayer support? I guess there is always charity.

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