The Austrian Fundraising Association, Fundraising Verband Austria, is calling for action from the Ministry of Finance in response to recent changes to tax deductibility rules that have seen the responsibility for claiming tax relief shift to the recipient rather than the donor.
As of this year, taxpayers are no longer required to claim their donations as special expenses on their tax declaration form. Instead, nonprofit organisations benefiting from donations must collect the necessary data and pass it on to the financial authorities.
The changes have been implemented to make donating more attractive to the public and to reduce the amount of financial administration required but have come under criticism for placing extra work and expense on nonprofit organisations.
Under the changes, donors must now give their first name, surname, and date of birth to the recipient organisations if they want their donations to qualify for tax deductibility. To comply with data protection regulations, the recipient organisation must then create a special encryption number using this data, which must be reported electronically to the financial authorities together with the yearly donation.
According to FVA, as well as the additional costs the new regulation means for non-profits, the changes have been rolled out without sufficient information for the public, meaning that many people are unaware of the changes. It is calling for more information from the Ministry of Finance, as well for financial help with the associated costs for nonprofits.
Dr Heidi Scheichenbauer from the FVA said: “For the organisations accepting donations, the new regulation means an enormous amount of work with investment in technical infrastructure coupled with an immense communication effort as donors themselves are many are uninformed about the upcoming changes.”
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