Church and charity tax exempt status under spotlight

National leader Christopher Luxon and Labour leader Chris Hipkins faced off in Newshub’s Decision 2023 Leaders Debate on Wednesday.

When asked by debate host, Paddy Gower whether charities should pay tax, Hipkins responded with a definite “yes”, while Luxon said he was “open to it”.

In August, there was speculation that the National Party plan would include closing tax loopholes for churches and charities to fund tax cuts for income earners and landlords.

However, Newstalk ZB reports that Churches and charities will continue to enjoy their tax-exempt status under National.

Leader of ACT, David Seymour did not take part in the Leader’s Debate.

However, ACT’s policy is that certain charitable companies enjoying tax-free status should pay tax.

“Britain amended this charitable tax loophole in the 1920s, and New Zealand is long overdue to do the same.

“Ngai Tahu businesses like Go Bus and Shotover Jet are tax-exempt due to the iwi’s charitable status.

“Even church-owned businesses like Sanitarium or Mission Estate Winery are exempt from company tax due to an archaic and outdated British law classing advancement of religion as a charitable purpose.

“If it’s really true that they give all their profits to their charitable side, then they won’t pay any tax.

“But if some people suspect they are getting away without paying tax and not putting as much into charity as they should, that will level the playing field for other competitors,” Seymour says in a press release.

In 2021, New Zealanders gave over $4 billion to the country’s 28,000 registered charities.

The overall income they bring in is far higher than that – more than $21 billion, which is comparable to the value of the country’s dairy exports.

Charities employ about 145,000 people and more than 200,000 of us volunteer for them.


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand, News Shorts.

Tags: , , , ,