Charity tax exemption not focus of review

charity tax exemption

Charity tax exemptions are not part of the government review of charity law.

According to the Department of Internal Affairs policy general manager, Raj Krishnan, the issue of tax exemption for religious charities such as Sanitarium and Destiny Church will not form part of the review.

Krishnan said lots had changed for the more than 27,000 charities since the Charities Act had been implemented more than a decade ago.

The Department of Internal Affairs received more than 300 submissions about charities and Krishnan said there had been numerous calls for religious charities’ tax exemption to be scrapped.

Many of the submitters considered ‘furthering religion’ not to be a charitable activity.

Last May, Cabinet made the decision not to include the issue in the review.

The Charities Act has been in place since 2005 and, in a statement, the Government says it is there to help society through the effective impact of charities.

“Charities play a vital role in supporting the wellbeing of people and communities throughout New Zealand. Public feedback gives us a chance to hear what needs improving so charities can continue to thrive and make a difference,” Krishnan said.

“An effective Act will help ensure that our charities sector is as impactful as possible and enjoys the public’s trust and confidence.”

Twenty-one community meetings will also be held throughout the country over March and April as part of the public consultation process, reports RNZ.

The tax-free status applies to all registered charities, including charitable trusts, iwi groups and not-for-profits.

The government’s Tax Working Group has been looking at charities as part of its wide-ranging review of New Zealand’s taxation.

Last year the Auckland City Council conducted an urgent review of rates bills after, without consultation, hundreds of the city’s churches were issued new rates bills.

The council claimed many Churches were using parts or all of their property for business rather than religious purposes.


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