Donations to disasters can be made in many ways, from coins into bucket appeals on the street, to much larger donations where receipts are issued.
The ATO maintains a list of disasters that meet the requirements for tax deductible donations.
On 25 October 2013 the Commissioner explained that donations to ‘bucket appeals’ for the NSW bushfires can be claimed as a tax deduction, even though you don’t get a receipt. Up to $10 in total can be claimed without a receipt for these donations in the 2013-14 tax year. For larger donations a receipt should be obtained.
Donations to bucket appeals for other disasters included in the list of disasters in the 2013-14 tax year also count towards each person’s $10 limit.
To be eligible for a tax deduction donations should be made to organisations with ‘Deductible gift recipient’ (DGR) status.
You can find out if an organisation is a DGR by visiting www.abn.business.gov.au and entering either the organisation’s Australian Business Number (ABN) or name in the search box.
DGRs may also authorise third parties such as banks or retail outlets to collect tax deductible donations on their behalf. In this case, ask for a receipt and keep it with your other tax records.