How to Make Tax Deductible Grants
To make a tax-deductible gift, certain legal requirements apply to individuals, corporate donors and foundations that are Prescribed Private Funds (PPFs).
According to the ATO guidelines, tax-deductible gifts can only be given to deductible gift recipients (DGRs). DGRs are either listed by name in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 or fall within general defined categories endorsed by the Tax Office.
There are various ways to make tax-deductible grants to documentaries.
This section provides a practical guide for donors wanting to support documentary films.
The Documentary Australia Foundation
DAF is a philanthropic initiative supporting documentary filmmaking in Australia. The DAF Board assesses projects on behalf of the philanthropic sector determining their eligibility for private funding. The criteria is similar to the qualifying procedure the government requires in order to determine whether a project is a bona fide documentary.
Once certified, eligible projects approved by DAF are listed on the website. The vehicle enables all grantmakers (foundations, individuals and corporations) to make tax-deductible donations to documentaries on DAF's Approved List. According to the DAF guidelines, grantmakers will be asked five key questions in order to award a grant to DAF. These answers will be the basis for approving the grant to a documentary.
- What is the proposed level of your grant ($A)
- Would you prefer to support the general operations of the DAF or a particular documentary (or documentaries) on the DAF Approved List?
- Which subject area of documentary would you like to support: Aged, Arts, Disability, Education, Environment, Health and Wellbeing, Human Rights, Indigenous, Refugees, Rural, Social Justice, Sport/Adventure, Welfare, Youth, Other (please specify).
- Why is this film suitable for philanthropic support?
- Are you (or key members of your organisation) related to the filmmakers of your preferred documentary? If so, how? Please note, the DAF Board will not willingly approve documentary grant proposals to films of related party interests.
Read about DAF at www.documentaryaustralia.com.au.
Prescribed Private Funds (PPF), individuals and corporate donors can currently give tax-deductible grants to filmmakers in the following ways:
A Charitable Organisation
A donor can give to a charitable or other not-for-profit organisation endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient under the Tax Act. The DGR can then support a documentary about the donor's interest area.
A documentary filmmaker may have partnered with a registered charity to work on a project that includes or is solely comprised of a documentary component. In this case, the charity and filmmaker together submit a proposal for a documentary suitable for philanthropic support either from a foundation, business or individual. This is a straightforward relationship as many charities already work closely with foundations and individual donors, and have the necessary DGR status for the donor to receive a tax deduction.
Australian foundations, corporations and individual donors should take advantage of the opportunity to encourage relationships between Australian documentary filmmakers and charitable or socially-conscious projects. This can be done by giving to organisations that consider documentary to be a viable part of their outreach potential.
In brief, there are clear reasons why this avenue is attractive for donors.
- The charity or non-profit has DGR status in order for the donor to receive a tax deduction.
- Foundations are already working closely with the charity sector, so they speak the same language and understand each other's goals.
- The charitable organisation can add credibility to the documentary proposal by partnering in their relationship to the community.
- The charity can have an ongoing involvement in the outreach of the documentary ensuring its broad reach and impact.
See Guide for Charities for more details on partnerships between documentary filmmakers and charitable organisations.