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Australian Government Donates $5 Million to New Zealand Red Cross Earthquake Appeal & Declares Australian Taxpayers Donations as Tax Deductible

Canberra, Australia (News4us.com) February 24, 2011

Australian Government Donates $5 Million to New Zealand Red Cross Earthquake Appeal & Declares Australian Taxpayers Donations as Tax Deductible

Australian Government Donates $5 Million to New Zealand Red Cross Earthquake Appeal & Declares Australian Taxpayers Donations as Tax Deductible

The Australian Government will make an immediate $5 million donation to help with the earthquake recovery effort in New Zealand.

The donation will be made to the New Zealand Red Cross earthquake appeal, following advice from the New Zealand Government.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the money will be used to assist in the immediate recovery and to help Christchurch get back on its feet after one of New Zealand’s darkest days.

The Prime Minister has advised the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key that the Australian Government will make the donation to the Red Cross.

The New Zealand Red Cross is on the ground in Christchurch, working with authorities to provide welfare assistance and first aid.

Red Cross relief supplies are being distributed and deployed from around New Zealand.

The Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Bill Shorten MP, also today announced the earthquake that hit the New Zealand city of Christchurch on 22 February 2011 has been recognised as a disaster for tax purposes.

This will allow Australian taxpayers to claim an income tax deduction for donations to the relief effort.

“So far this tragic event has claimed the lives of many people and there have been numerous reports of injuries. The death toll is sadly likely to rise. Aftershocks are expected to continue and this could lead to further building damage or collapse, as well as continued disruption to power, telecommunications and essential services,” Mr Shorten said.

“The sympathies of the Australian Government and all Australians are with the people of Christchurch and New Zealand at this time.”

This declaration means that public funds established and maintained by a public benevolent institution solely to provide money for the relief of people in New Zealand, who are in distress as a result of the Christchurch earthquake, can be endorsed as ‘developed country relief funds’.

Funds still need to apply to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) for formal endorsement, and the ATO has established a fast track process for this purpose.

“The Red Cross and the Salvation Army have advised that they are establishing disaster relief funds to help the people of Christchurch. Further information on how to make donations will be available from their websites,” the Assistant Treasurer said.

Donations to such funds are tax deductible for a period of two years from 22 February 2011. Taxpayers should ensure that they retain a receipt for their donation.

The Australian Government has recognised other overseas disasters for the purposes of tax deductibility in the past, including the bush fires in Greece in August 2007; the Abruzzo earthquake in Italy in April 2009 and the Taiwan typhoon in August 2009.

Further information on establishing a developed country disaster relief fund is available at the ATO website www.ato.gov.au/nonprofit.


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