I’ve been sitting here watching these bush fires ravage the country and feeling a little helpless (and grateful at the same time that my home isn’t threatened) – apart from donating money and looking for ways to give my time, here’s some of my thoughts on the numbers side of things that may help you, or a friend with these bush fires.
1) If you’re giving / donating money – while I’m sure this is not your primary intent, it’s likely you CAN claim some or all of the money you give on your tax, depending on who you give it to. Knowing you can save tax on your gift, may give you the ability to give MORE than you originally thought you could. I’ve checked two of the prominent giving campaigns:
a. giving straight to NSW Rural Fire Service here: https://quickweb.westpac.com.au/OnlinePaymentServlet?cd_community=NSWRFS&cd_currency=AUD&cd_supplier_business=DONATIONS&action=EnterDetails&fbclid=IwAR2Nul-pyfqGvKEX3uuK4dS99VN-yaeEzFkwYgBq56AMa2flawBnSq7nlWc
b. giving to the Facebook campaign by Celeste Barber (over $2.3M now at time of posting this!) https://www.facebook.com/donate/1010958179269977/
Both seem to tick the box when it comes to giving to deductible gift recipients. You can check if the business or entity you’re giving money to is a tax deductible recipient using the search here: https://abr.business.gov.au/ (and seeing if it is a ‘Deductible Giving Recipient) – And keep your receipt for your accountant.
2) For fire effected businesses and people, if you owe the tax office money, get in touch with your accountant, or the ATO direct on their emergency support line 1800 806 218 (if you need a translator, call 13 14 50), to see if you can pause the payments. Otherwise, if you’re owed money in a refund, call them to get the refund fast-tracked.
3) The ATO is here to help. No joke, they’re not all bad – in emergencies and natural disasters, they are supremely patient to people effected. I remember this when I saw the help they gave in 2011 for the floods in QLD, and they’ve been extremely understanding of communities and farmers during the drought. They’ve given extensions on lodgements, offered help getting records together and lodging documents, and removed penalties and interest. After your fire threat goes away, get in touch with them on 1800 806 218 (if you need a translator, call 13 14 50). The ATO are doing this proactively by postcode – otherwise if you’re fire effected, but not in the postcode list, just give them a call when you can. Postcode list and more info is here: https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Dealing-with-disasters/In-detail/Specific-disasters/Bushfires-2019-20/