Why are we donating millions to the taxman?

Opinion – In the bible, Jesus is reported as saying “… Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s …” (Matthew 22:21). This is indeed a tenet that is applicable in this modern world –  though for ‘Caesar’ read government (in general) or ‘The IRD’ (in particular) as Christ was referring to tax collectors. It has long puzzled me why many taxpayers do not claim back the tax credits to which they are entitled if donating to charities with donee status. After all, if “Caesar” wants to give you some hard-earned dollars back, then why not accept them? If not needed, the credits themselves can then be donated to a charity of your choice, or your initial donation can be increased to allow for the fact that you will receive a portion back at the end of the tax year.

Another ‘trick’ often missed is for qualifying organisations to gently remind their donors to claim their credits (perhaps with the suggestion that the refund could be donated to the charity).

The application for tax credits is simple, merely requiring that a simple form (IR526) (downloadable from the IRD website) is filled out and sent  in with your receipts. (Once you use one of these forms, another will be sent to you each year).

It seems that I am not alone in these thoughts. The following article appeared in the Manawatu Standard on 23 October – NFP Editor:

“Budget Buster: Why are we donating millions to the taxman? 

Weird fact of the day: The most popular and well-supported charity in New Zealand is almost certainly the Inland Revenue Department.

Kiwis give about $3 billion a year to charity, which puts us right up there as among the most generous-hearted people in the world. If you’ve contributed to this stellar record, take a moment to pat yourself on the back.

What we’re not so hot on is doing the paperwork. For every dollar donated, individuals are entitled to claim back 33 and a bit cents as a rebate from the IRD … <Read the full article by Richard Meadows in the Manawatu Standard here>”

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