Tax support for rural brigades

RURAL Fire Brigades on the Southern Downs will benefit from an announcement yesterday by Assistant Treasurer Senator Nick Sherry.

Sen Sherry said the Federal Government would change the tax law to help volunteer bushfire brigades attract more donations.

“The Rudd Government will extend tax deductible donation support to all volunteer bushfire brigades,” the assistant treasurer said.

“The memorial services earlier this month on the anniversary of the tragic Victorian bushfires highlighted the professionalism, selflessness and bravery of volunteer firefighters.

“Australia’s volunteer firefighters perform an essential community service and they deserve all the help they can get to attract donations vital to their existence.

“There are more than 6000 volunteer brigades in Australia – but less than a third can access tax deductible donations and that eligibility has recently come under question.”

The volunteer fire brigades currently holding tax deductible status are considered public benevolent institutions (PBIs), that is, they are considered not-for-profit institutions organised for the direct relief of poverty, sickness, suffering, distress, misfortune, disability or helplessness.

Recent legal cases have led the Commissioner of Taxation to rule that volunteer brigades do not meet the strict PBI criteria.

“The Rudd Government will act to ensure not only those fire brigades that already access deductible donations remain capable of receiving tax deductible support, but we’ll also extend such support to all volunteer bushfire brigades,” he said.



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