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The legal concept of charity in the context of Australian taxation law : The public benefit and commercial activity, important issues for indigenous charities


Charitable entities are of significance to modern communities for a wide variety of reasons. They often fill the gap between the government sector and the business or for-profit sector in that they provide services that fulfil social and economic needs not supplied by these areas. They may also offer a more flexible solution to community problems than government. From a taxation perspective they are granted significant fiscal benefits including the exemption of income from tax, concessions under the goods and services and fringe benefits tax regimes and a range of state and local government tax concessions.

Author profile

Dr Fiona Martin CTA
Fiona is a solicitor, academic and chartered tax adviser with The Taxation Institute. She commenced working as an academic after several years as a lawyer, both with the government (including the Attorney-General's Department) and in private practice. Her expertise and research are in the taxation law area and in particular how it relates to charities and interacts with issues relating to human rights and traditional land owners. Fiona has published many articles in highly regarded international and Australian law journals, including the Australian Tax Forum and Common Law World Review. She has presented at conferences on issues relating to taxation concessions applying to charities, the application of the GST particularly as it relates to charities and income tax and property development generally. She has also published a number of book chapters and a textbook in the revenue law area. In 2013, she was awarded her doctorate on the application of income tax principles to resource agreements with Indigenous Australians, with particular emphasis on the use of Indigenous charities as a tax-exempt structure. She has also received several research awards. - Current at 01 April 2016
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