Public consultation on a statutory definition of charity

Public consultation on the exposure draft legislation for a statutory definition of charity is now open.

Previously, whether an organisation was considered charitable was subject to common law principals developed over hundreds of years.

The media release from the government states that “The draft legislation preserves the common law definition of charity, including long established principles such as the presumption of public benefit for certain charitable purposes. It also incorporates recent court decisions, such as Aid/Watch Incorporated v Federal Commissioner of Taxation, which extended the circumstances in which a charity may advance public debate. Feedback provided in response to the 2011 consultation paper A Definition of Charity has also been incorporated.

Importantly, the draft legislation retains the flexibility inherent in the common law that enables the courts, as well as Parliament, to continue to develop the definition and extend the definition to other charitable purposes beneficial to contemporary Australia. This will ensure that the definition remains appropriate and reflects modern society and community needs as they evolve over time.”

CLICK HERE to view the exposure draft and explanatory memorandum.

Closing dates for submissions is May 3rd and no extensions will be granted.

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