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Federal Government amendment encourages ancillary funds to increase granting

May 06th, 2020

The Federal Government has announced amendments to the ministerial guidelines which will encourage ancillary funds to increase their granting during this time of immense need.

Like many elements of our economy, Australia’s not-for-profit sector has been hit hard by COVID-19. With thousands of job losses in a sector that contributes more than 8% of Australia’s GDP these losses are impacting on the critical work that charities are delivering in the community.

The requirement for more and better philanthropy has never been more profound, especially after the recent catastrophic bushfires. Philanthropy has a critical role to play in helping to address the challenges of COVID-19 and supporting charities and our communities to build back better in recovery. Although giving will be hit by the economic impacts of COVID-19, estimated to fall 20% over this and next financial year according to JBWere analysis, Australian philanthropy is determined to step up and respond to this unparalleled challenge. 

Today the Assistant Minister for Charities, Senator Zed Seselja, announced amendments to the ministerial guidelines for public and private ancillary funds to provide a credit for funds that make total distributions in financial years 2019-20 and 2020-21 that are at least four percentage points above the minimum required distributions. The credit, equal to half the percentage points by which the distributions exceed the minimum, may be used to reduce the minimum distribution by up to one percentage point in 2021-22 and future financial years until the credit is exhausted. 

Philanthropy Australia welcomes the announcement by the Federal Government which will encourage ancillary funds to increase their granting during this time of immense need.

This amendment is part of a broad set of policy recommendations that Philanthropy Australia is advocating to government to strengthen the critical role philanthropy can play during this crisis. 

We also note that the Assistant Minister for Charities is declaring COVID-19 a disaster and the Federal Government will endorse COVID-19 disaster relief funds under s30.45A of the Income Tax Assessment Act to receive DGR status for a two year period  

Disaster relief funds will need to apply for formal endorsement as a DGR fund. Organisations seeking to establish a DGR contact the ATO’s Not-for-Profit advice line on 1300 130 248 or email

Philanthropy Australia appreciates the ongoing collaborative dialogue we are having with the Assistant Minister for Charities and the Australian Government on ways we can support the work of the not-for-profit sector during this challenging time. 

For more information you can read the Assistant Minister’s media release here  

For more details on Philanthropy Australia’s COVID-19 policy priorities please read here

For guidance regarding how your Ancillary Fund can take advantage of the recently announced amendments to give more during this critical time please read here 

For information regarding how Australian Philanthropy leaders are stepping up and responding to community needs during this unparalleled challenge please read our public statement here 

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