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Charities Working Party Appointed

Syd Ashton, the outgoing chief executive of Te Runanga O Ngai Tahu, will chair the charities working party.

Other members are:
- Pat Webster, Executive Director of the Council for International Development,
- Hemi-Rua Rapata, Chairman of the Federation of Maori Authorities O Aotearoa; the Taitokerau Federation of Maori Authorities; the Matauri X Incorporation,
- Gordon Copeland, Chair of the Inter Church Working Party on Taxation, Financial Administrator of the Catholic Archdiocese of Wellington,
- Frank Claridge, Treasurer of the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind, member of the Federation of Voluntary Welfare Organisations national executive,
- Judith Timpany, Chair of Philanthropy New Zealand, Executive Director of the Whanganui Community Foundation,
- Pat Hanley, Manager of the Association of Non Governmental Organisations of Aotearoa and Chair of the Social and Civic Policy Institute.

Announcing the membership, Revenue Minister Michael Cullen said the charitable sector encompassed a broad range of organisations and interests and that the appointments reflected this diversity.

“The government resolved in response to submissions on the Tax and Charities discussion document that charities claiming tax free status should be subject to a registration, reporting and monitoring regime as applies in many overseas jurisdictions.

“To ensure we get the best system possible with maximum support and minimum compliance costs we decided to consult the sector on the design details. The working party was born out of that decision,” Dr Cullen said.

It would also provide feedback on any wider impacts of applying the public benefit test to Maori organisations as discussed in the Taxation of Maori Organisations discussion document.

It had been asked to come back with its recommendations by the end of February so that the government’s policy response could be incorporated into legislation for introduction in May.

The same legislative package would include the decision to raise the rebate for individual charitable donations from $500 to around $600 and to simplify the company deduction rules.

The working party had also been invited to comment on whether the definition of “charitable purpose” could be improved without altering the definition’s overall scope and on the proposal to standardise the various tax assistance rules applying to New Zealand charities operating overseas.

The reporting date for this part of its brief was the end of May, Dr Cullen said.

Ends

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