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The Definition of Charity and its Nexus with Tax Preference Issues

Gousmett, Michael (2002) The Definition of Charity and its Nexus with Tax Preference Issues. QUT, Brisbane. [Working Paper]

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Abstract

Charity, since the Reformation, has been secularised to the extent that the continued use by the courts of analogies to a four hundred year old statute in order to determine charitable purpose with respect to tax exempt status, is giving rise to absurd situations. Tax exempt status is generally assigned by an agent of the government, for example the Inland Revenue Department in New Zealand, without any evaluation of the impact of the activities of the charitable organisation on social or economic policies.

It is only when the activities of the charitable organisation are challenged in the courts, that the charitable organisation may lose its privileged position. From this brief analysis, it can be seen that the situation which is developing is a classic case of 'putting the cart before the horse'. A recent New Zealand case demonstrates the folly of assigning tax exempt status without first having examined the charitable purposes of the trust, and without having conjointly undertaken an evaluation of the social and economic impact of that charitable organisation. It is apparent that there is a need for substantial changes in charity law, with respect to charitable purpose and fiscal issues, in today's social and economic climate.

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ID Code: 50000
Item Type: Working Paper
Keywords: Charity definitions, Tax preferences
ISBN: 1864355840
ISSN: 1447-1213
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > ACCOUNTING AUDITING AND ACCOUNTABILITY (150100) > Taxation Accounting (150107)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2002 Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 01 May 2012 12:48
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2013 22:41

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