The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Mark Arbib

Mark Arbib

Assistant Treasurer

14 December 2011 - 5 March 2012

Media Release of 12/02/2012

NO.007

Joint Media Release with
the Hon Mark Butler MP
Minister for Mental Health and Ageing
Minister for Social Inclusion
Minister for Mental Health Reform

Not-for-profit Sector Tax Concession Working Group

Minister for Social Inclusion Mark Butler and Assistant Treasurer Mark Arbib today announced the membership and terms of reference of a new working group that will consider ideas for better delivering the support currently provided through tax concessions to the not-for-profit (NFP) sector.

The Gillard Government provides the NFP sector with significant support through a range of tax concessions in recognition of the important role it plays in the community.

These include concessions for income tax, fringe benefits tax (FBT) and goods and services tax (GST), and also deductible gift recipient (DGR) status.

The new working group will consider ideas raised at the Tax Forum.

"The Government is committed to supporting the NFP sector, and it is important that that support is as effective as possible," Senator Arbib said.

"At October's Tax Forum, there was discussion about whether the current support provided through tax concessions could be better targeted.

"The NFP Sector Tax Concession Working Group will examine the current range of tax concessions and whether there are fairer, simpler and more effective ways of delivering the current envelope of support."

Consistent with the Government's commitment to fiscal discipline, the Working Group will also identify offsetting savings from benefits provided to the NFP sector for any proposals that have a budget cost.

"Consultation with the broad and diverse NFP sector will be critical to achieving lasting reform," Mr Butler said.

"The Working Group will form part of the NFP Sector Reform Council, and will ensure the Government hears the views of the sector on how we can best support it to do its good work."

The Working Group will be chaired by Linda Lavarch, the chair of the NFP Sector Reform Council, and will include a diverse range of representatives from the NFP sector and also technical experts.

The Working Group will build on the Government's broader NFP reform agenda, which will deliver smarter regulation and reduce red tape. These reforms include:

  • establishing the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission to provide a one-stop shop for charities to help support the sector;
  • working with the States and Territories on a national approach to the regulation of the NFP sector, including national fundraising laws for the sector;
  • implementing a 'report-once use-often' general reporting framework for charities and a public information portal by 1 July 2013; and
  • introducing a statutory definition of 'charity' from 1 July 2013.

12 February 2012


Attachment A: Membership

The membership of the NFP Sector Tax Concession Working Group will be:

Linda Lavarch (Chair)
Chair, Not-for-profit Sector Reform Council

John Emerson
Partner, Freehills

Father Brian Lucas
General Secretary, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

Elizabeth Lucas
Member, National Tax Liaison Group – FBT Subcommittee

Greg Mackie OAM
Executive Director, Ageing, SA Health
Awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to the arts

Tim Morris-Smith
Chief Financial Officer, Mission Australia

THeather Neil
Chief Executive Officer, RSPCA Australia

Ann O'Connell
Associate Professor, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne

Anne Robinson
Deputy Chair, Not-for-profit Sector Reform Council

Miranda Stewart
Associate Professor, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne

Joe Zabar
Director, Services Sustainability, UnitingCare Australia


Attachment B: Terms of Reference

Objective

1. The Working Group will consider whether there are better ways of delivering the current envelope of support provided through tax concessions to the NFP sector by the Australian Government.

Scope

2. The Working Group will examine the current range of tax concessions provided to the NFP sector in terms of their fairness, simplicity and effectiveness.

3. The Working Group will identify whether there are fairer, simpler and more effective ways of delivering the current envelope of support provided through tax concessions to the NFP sector.

4. The Working Group will identify offsetting budget savings from within the NFP sector for any proposals that have a budget cost.

4.1 All proposals and offsetting budget savings examined by the Working Group will be costed by Treasury in accordance with the budget rules.

5. The Working Group will have regard to the Productivity Commission's 2010 report Contribution of the Not-for-profit Sector, the Australia's Future Tax System Review, and relevant international experience and expertise, in developing its recommendations.

6. The Working Group will have regard to the Government's broader NFP reform agenda in developing its recommendations.

Timing

7. The Working Group is expected to complete its work by December 2012.

Consultation

8. The working group, with assistance from Treasury, will consult widely with the NFP sector, state and territory governments, and the broader community.

9. The Working Group will provide the NFP Sector Reform Council with regular updates on its progress.

10. The meetings of the Working Group will be attended by a representative of Treasury and a representative of the Office for the Not-for-Profit Sector.

Support

11. The Working Group will be supported by a Secretariat within Treasury.

11.1 The Secretariat will provide the Working Group with technical and legal advice as required.


Attachment C: Short Biographies

Linda Lavarch (Chair)

Chair, Not-for-profit Sector Reform Council; and Research Fellow, Australian Centre of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, Queensland University of Technology

Linda is a former State Member of the Queensland Parliament serving from 1997 to 2009. She represented the then seat of Kurwongbah on the northern outskirts of Brisbane.

In 2005 she was appointed Attorney-General – Queensland's first woman Attorney-General. Incidentally Linda was the first woman lawyer elected to the Queensland Parliament. During her service she chaired the Scrutiny of Legislation Committee, the Members Parliamentary Privileges and Ethics Committee and headed a number of inquiries ranging from the decriminalisation of Altruistic Surrogacy to reforms in the residential rental market.

Linda is a lawyer having gained her law degree from QUT. She also holds a graduate diploma in legal practices from QUT.

She currently serves as a Director on the Boards of The Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation and Hockey Queensland.

John Emerson

Partner, Freehills

John Emerson is recognised Australia wide as an expert in the tax laws applicable to charities. He joined the firm in 1971 and was admitted to partnership in 1976.

John has been appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) "for services to law and to the community, particularly through the provision of advice to charities and not-for-profit organisations and the development of public administration reform to encourage philanthropy in Australia".

He is the Freehills Melbourne office Pro Bono Partner and is a member of the Board of Taxation and of a number of legal and public sector committees active in the charity tax and pro bono areas.

Father Brian Lucas

General Secretary, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

Father Lucas, who has been awarded a 2002 Churchill Fellowship, completed a study/research programme on Pastoral Communication at the Gregorian University in Rome before taking up duties in Canberra in August 2002.

Elizabeth Lucas

Member, National Tax Liaison Group – FBT Subcommittee

Elizabeth was appointed as a member of the ATO's National Tax Liaison Group – FBT Subcommittee on 11September 1997. Elizabeth is Associate Director – Tax at Grant Thornton Australia. Elizabeth represents The Taxation Institute on the sub-committee and has a wealth of experience and knowledge on fringe benefits tax and other taxes.

Greg Mackie OAM

Executive Director, Ageing, SA Health
Awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to the arts

Greg is currently Executive Director of Ageing in SA Health and has previously held the positions of Deputy Chief Executive in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet South Australia and Executive Director of Art SA. He has also been an elected member of the Adelaide City Council and was a founding director of Imprints Booksellers in Adelaide.

He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2002 for his services to the arts, in particular as founder of the Adelaide Festival of Ideas. He has served widely in the community and arts sectors.

Tim Morris-Smith

Chief Financial Officer, Mission Australia

Tim joined Mission Australia as CFO in 2008. He is a UK Chartered Accountant with 20 years experience providing strategic financial leadership and controllership in US, European and Australian companies, including special-purpose entities, superannuation funds and trusts. At Mission Australia, Tim provides oversight for ethics, risk management, compliance and corporate governance, ensuring compliance with government obligations and regulatory requirements.

Heather Neil

Chief Executive Officer, RSPCA Australia

Heather was appointed Chief Executive Officer of RSPCA Australia in 2006. She has a long career in the NFP sector including organisations such as the Australian Breastfeeding Association, Quit Tasmania and Croplife.

Ann O'Connell

Associate Professor, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne

Ann is Associate Dean (Undergraduate) and an Associate Professor at Melbourne Law School. She is Co-Director of the Tax Group and also Special Counsel, Allens, Arthur Robinson, Solicitors.

She lectures in taxation at the undergraduate and postgraduate level and also teaches courses in corporations and securities regulation. At the postgraduate level, she teaches Regulation of Securities Offerings, Regulation of Securities Markets; Taxation of Remuneration, Taxation of Superannuation, Taxation of Sport and Capital Gains Tax - Problems in Practice.

She is a member of the Advisory Panel to the Board of Taxation and the Australian Taxation Office Rulings Panel.

Anne Robinson

Deputy Chair, Not-for-profit Sector Reform Council; and Founder and Principal, Prolegis Lawyers

Admitted as a solicitor in 1980, Anne worked in two major Sydney law firms in commercial law, including resource development, finance and banking.

In 1985 she jointly established a firm of consulting lawyers who pioneered the specialist practice of legal audit and compliance. This initiative involved working on-site with clients to develop strategies for differing aspects of legal risk management.

Since then a significant part of Anne's compliance and preventative law work has been with NFP and educational institutions, covering a wide range of charities and education law issues. It was a logical step therefore in 2001 to establish Prolegis to act only for charities and other not-for-profit organisations.

In 2009 Anne established the Australian Charity Law Association, a body which exists to support the work of the charity and NFP sector in Australia by providing education for practitioners in this field, and support for charity law reform.

In addition to her legal work, Anne has also been involved in governance of NFP organisations for 25 years, including serving on the boards of two large Sydney independent schools for 16 years. She is also the Chairman of the Board of World Vision Australia.

Miranda Stewart

Associate Professor, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne

Miranda is Co-Director of Taxation Studies at the Melbourne Law School. She has many years experience in tax law in Australia and overseas, particularly in the United States of America. She was recently made an International Fellow of the Centre of Business Taxation at Oxford University. Before joining the Faculty in 2000, Mirandaworked in business tax policy and legislation at the Australian Taxation Office and as a solicitor in tax and litigation at Arthur Robinson & Hedderwicks. She has taught in the postgraduate tax law programs at New York University School of Law (US business tax, comparative and international tax and tax policy), Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto, Canada and the University of Florida Law School.

Miranda has published and taught across a wide range of tax law and policy topics, applying a critical perspective to taxation of business and investment corporations, partnerships and trusts; tax incentives including venture capital; death and taxes; tax and the family; and the politics and process of tax reform and budgets in Australia and globally. She has an abiding interest in issues of tax and distributive justice in a global context.

Joe Zabar

Director, Services Sustainability, UnitingCare Australia

Joe has more than 18 years' experience in the people and organisational performance management field. Joe has spent most of his working career in the area of international development in both the non-government and government sectors. Prior to joining UnitingCareAustraliaJoe was a senior executive with the international development and humanitarian response organisation, CARE Australia, where he was responsible for the organisation's people agenda as well as organisational development, performance and reform. Joe's role with UnitingCare Australiais focused on developing the Uniting Church's network of, and capacity to deliver, community services.