New research shows taxpayers in NSW are more generous than their counterparts in Queensland and Victoria, along with a gender divide in giving. Andrew Sadauskas reports.

Taxpayers in New South Wales give a larger proportion of their income to charity and claim a higher average tax-deductible donation than people in other states, according to a new study from the Queensland University of Technology.

The research, conducted by The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies at QUT, also found that while female taxpayers give a higher proportion of their income than their male counterparts, men give more overall.

In the report, titled An Examination of Tax-Deductible Donations Made By Individual Australian Taxpayers in 2015–16 [PDF], researchers Myles McGregor-Lowndes and Marie Crittall analysed figures published by the Australian Taxation Office to uncover the major trends in giving.

The researchers looked at the tax-deductible donations made and claimed by Australian taxpayers to deductible gift recipient charities in their individual income tax returns for the 2015-16 financial year.

The figures exclude donations from corporations and trusts, volunteer labour, as well as non-deductible gifts (such as raffles, sponsorships and fundraising product purchases).

Overall, 4.51 million Australian taxpayers (or 33.40% of the taxpaying population) made and claimed tax-deductible donations in 2015/16. The total amount given was $2.9 billion, down 8.9% from $3.1 billion the previous year, with an average gift of $633.72.

NSW leads on donations

One of the main trends to the emerge from the research was the largesse of  NSW residents, when compared to the citizens of other states.

NSW taxpayers made and claimed an average tax-deductible donation of $763.03, representing 0.42% of their taxable incomes, which was significantly higher than the national average of $633.72.

The figures were well ahead of the next largest donor state, Victoria, which claimed an average $632.32 donation with 0.41% of taxable income.

In total, 1,449,231 NSW taxpayers gave a total of $1.1 billion, representing 38.68% of all Australian donations, while Victorians gave $793.31 million, accounting for 27.75% of the national total.

“[Queensland] gave a total of $380.06 million in deductible gifts but, interestingly, Queensland was second lowest on the list when it came to the percentage of taxable income donated,” McGregor-Lowndes said. “It managed just 0.26%, compared to the national average of 0.36%.”

The exception to the trend was in median donation size, with the ACT giving $200. By comparison, the median gift was $143 in NSW, $125 in WA, and $100 in all the other states and territories.

Australia’s most generous suburbs

Perhaps not surprisingly, the residents of Sydney’s leafy eastern suburbs led the nation in terms of the total size of their charitable donations.

The postcode with the highest total of tax-deductible gifts was 2030, covering Dover Heights, HMAS Watson, Rose Bay North, Vaucluse and Watsons Bay, with $46,118,262 claimed in total.

The postcode with the highest average gift was also in Sydney’s east, with Darling Point, Edgecliff, HMAS Rushcutters and Point Piper (2027) claiming an average of $14,023.96 per gifting taxpayer.

The postcode with the highest percentage of residents claiming a gift deduction was the Victorian town of Monegeetta (3433), near the Macedon Ranges. It saw 53.10% of its taxpayers claiming a gift.

Other giving patterns

The research also uncovered a number of other trends, including a significant gender divide in terms of giving patterns.

On average, female taxpayers donated an average of 0.39% of their taxable incomes to charities, while males donated just 0.34%.

Despite giving a smaller percentage of their taxable income, due to the gender gap in wages, men claimed a larger average donation of $729.82 compared to $537.47 for women.

As a result, 2.26 million male taxpayers (or 32.34% of male taxpayers) gave a total of $1.65 billion. In contrast, 2.25 million female taxpayers (34.52%) donated $1.2 billion.

“The analysis also showed that chief executives and managing directors once again claimed the most tax deductible donations, at $277.55 million. Ministers of religion were also generous and made the highest deductible gifts in relation to their taxable income,” McGregor-Lowndes said.

“When it comes to occupations with the highest percentage of donating taxpayers, police came out on top for the sixth year in a row, with almost three-quarters of officers giving, followed by school principals.”

The full report is available to download from the Queensland University of Technology website.

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