Christmas is a time for giving

At Christmas time our thoughts turn to giving and for some that means donating to charities. With over 50,000 different registered charities in Australia according to Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission, deciding on your chosen charity can be difficult.

Here are some tips when choosing to support a charity this Christmas and beyond either financially or in kind.

Australians are generous with many families making a donation to a charity of their choice at Christmas as a way of assisting those who are less fortune, at a time of year when many people really do need some help.

How to choose a charity

However, with so many worthy causes requiring help, what’s the best way to know which charity to choose?

As recommended in the Choice Donation Guide, choose a charity that means something to you and/or your family. Make it a personal gift because it is truly the thought that counts.

For example, you and/or your children may love animals so why not choose a charity that looks after animals who need rescuing or rehoming.

Or if you have a family member who has suffered from an illness you may be able to donate to a charity in the health services sector that provides support to the families going through the same situation.

Non financial donations

Don’t forget that charities don’t just need financial assistance, hands on help is also something they may need.

Find something that you are interested in and offer your time to the cause. The larger national charities like the Red Cross, The Smith Family and St Vincent de Paul, all have volunteering programs you can become a part of.

Even the smaller charities could use a hand so even if your favourite charity does not have a volunteer program, it is still worth the effort of calling them to find out if they can use your skills.

The Tax Implications of Donating

Of course, it’s essential to ensure any charity you offer money or other services to is reputable. According to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission’s (ASIC’s) website, charity scams do occur.

Many charitable organisations also have deductible gift recipient (DGR) status. Any donation made to a DGR charity can be claimed as a tax deduction.

If you do make a tax deductible donation this Christmas, ensure you keep your receipts.

Remember that you can only claim gifts as a tax deduction. This means that if you have received anything in return for your donation, for example, a raffle ticket or a seat at a fundraising event, you may not be able to claim the deduction.

Lastly, if you’d like to make a large donation to a charity, talk to your financial adviser about your options and any tax implications first so that you are informed.

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