How to Receive & Encourage Tax Deductible Grants
Once you have researched the most relevant sources of financial support for your project (refer to Working with Philanthropic Grantmakers and Working with Charities), you will need to determine the appropriate organisation through which the grant could be administered so that it becomes tax-deductible to the donor.
Documentary Australia Foundation has been established to make it easy for filmmakers to receive grants and donations. It is also recommended that filmmakers seek partners with charitable organisations that are registered with DGR (Deductible Gift Recipient) status. For the private funding model to be effective, many different organisations may need to be approached.
There are various ways for filmmakers to receive tax-deductible grants.
This section provides a practical guide for filmmakers to get started.
The Documentary Australia Foundation
The Documentary Australia Foundation is a philanthropic initiative supporting documentary filmmaking in Australia. The Documentary Australia Foundations board assesses projects on behalf of the philanthropic sector determining their eligibility for private funding. The criteria used 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 the Documentary Australia Foundation are listed on the website. The vehicle enables all grantmakers (foundations, individuals and corporations) to make tax-deductible donations to documentaries on the Foundation's Approved List. According to the Documentary Australia Foundation guidelines, filmmakers will be asked key questions in order to be eligible for a grant or donation through the Documentary Australia Foundation. These answers will form the basis for approving the suitability of a documentary for philanthropic support.
Filmmakers can also receive grants and donations from foundations and individual donors 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 donors interest area.
A documentary filmmaker could partner 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.
Documentary filmmakers and organisations in the not for profit sector should take advantage of the opportunity to build relationships in order to make charitable or socially-conscious projects. Increasingly, organisations will 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 others goals.
The charitable organisation adds credibility to the documentary proposal by partnering in their relationship to the community.
The charity has an ongoing involvement in the outreach of the documentary ensuring its broad reach and impact.
See Guide for Charities for more details about partnerships between documentary filmmakers and charitable organisations.
Australia Business Arts Foundation
The Australia Business Arts Foundation (AbaF) is a Commonwealth body promoting private sector support for the arts.
AbaF operates the Australia Cultural Fund enabling individuals, businesses and some foundations to make tax deductible donations to AbaF and nominate a preferred artist (including filmmakers) as the recipient. Documentary filmmakers generate donations for their projects through the Australia Cultural Fund and receive grants. In the financial year 2006-07 the Australia Cultural Fund received $1.08 million in donations and made 160 grants to artists and not-for-profit arts organisations. 15 of these grants totalling $105,575 were made in the category 'broadcasting, electronic media and film'. For more information visit AbaF.
Aurora Community Television
Aurora Community Television broadcasts on Foxtel, Austar and Optus TVs digital networks on Channel 183. Aurora has an Arts Foundation with DGR status established to help community groups produce programs tax-effectively. The Aurora Community Television Arts Foundation is a fund listed on the Register of Cultural Organisations under the Tax Act and is eligible to receive fully tax-deductible donations. The foundation facilitates programs highlighting the many facets of the arts in Australia including film, sculpture, dance, painting, drawing, video projects, music and Aboriginal arts.
Funds donated to the Aurora Community Television Arts Foundation can be used to:
- Support and contribute towards the production costs of programs which promote the arts.
- Commission programs which promote the arts.
- Purchase the rights to programs which promote the arts.
- Distribute these programs through the Aurora Community Television Channel.
For further information, visit the site or call (02) 9370 9999.
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