There was a consultation period on foot until 29 April 2022 from the Treasury Department concerning a proposal to create a new category that schools could use of deductible gift recipient, namely Pastoral Care Fund.
The motivation for this new category is the strain on pastoral care services delivered by schools particularly during the COVID lockdown. The other categories of deductible gift recipient funds which the schools rely on are:
- building fund;
- scholarship fund;
- library fund
but all other money raised by a school cannot be receipted for tax deduction by donor. The addition of a pastoral care fund will not only boost resources available to supply pastoral care in schools but also attract donation money freeing up the general school revenues for other education expenses.
It is rare for a specific DGR category to be added to Division 30.15 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth) so we are confident schools will take great advantage of this addition.
After the close of consultation period, we await the final bill to expand and specially list this group of DGRs. It will be likely that a trustee may be required by a school which wishes to set up such a fund or if the school already had a foundation, at least a separate set of rules for the pastoral care fund should be drafted and definitely separate accounts be kept.
Schools from kindergarten to Year 12 whether independent, government or of any other religious affiliation are eligible which we consider is a possible alert for religious school so that they are sure not to spend money from the pastoral care fund on religious education. It will be interesting to identify the description in the legislation of what amounts to pastoral care.
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