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Advocacy work in the gun in Federal reform agenda

NOT-for-profit groups eligible for tax deductible donations face a significant shakeup following the release of a Federal Government discussion paper on "reform opportunities".

Interested groups have just a few weeks to respond to proposed changes to the Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) system.

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DGR status allows groups to attract more donations because donors can claim tax deductions, with more than $1.3 billion claimed per year.

Most of the 28,000 DGRs in Australia are charities, but there are more than 2500 non-charity DGRs, according to government figures.

Among proposed reforms in the Federal Treasury paper is a suggestion that all DGRs become charities regulated by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). Administration of the DGRs, currently with four different departments, would come under the wing of the Australian Tax Office.

Some groups have raised concerns that changes to DGR rules could be aimed at neutering environmental lobby groups, with suggested reforms limiting "certain types of advocacy".

Community Council for Australia chief David Crosbie has flagged "a strong submission" in response to the paper.

"CCA has long argued that the ACNC should play a more significant role in DGR, that the current DGR approval processes are a mess, and that all registered charities should be eligible for DGR," Mr Crosbie wrote to members this week.

The Treasury says reforms are aimed at cutting red tape, boosting trust and support for the not-for-profit sector, and checking on compliance measures.

The discussion paper "outlines a number of proposals to strengthen the DGR governance arrangements, reduce administrative complexity and ensure that an organisation's eligibility for DGR status is up to date," Treasury says.

Submissions are open until 14 July 2017. More details here:

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