Full Federal Court confirms a ‘public benevolent institution’ does not need to provide direct relief

The issue in this case was whether to be a ‘public benevolent institution’ the entity must directly provide relief from poverty, sickness, disability, destitution, helplessness or other distress, as opposed to fundraising for other entities that provide relief or some other form of indirect involvement.

A ‘public benevolent institution’ is a particular subtype of charitable body. Endorsement by the Australian Taxation Office is required before an entity can be a public benevolent institution. If endorsed, a public benevolent institution can access a number of tax concessions and be registered as a deductible gift recipient.

One of the available tax concessions is for fringe benefits tax. Benefits provided to employees by an entity that is endorsed as a public benevolent institution are exempt from fringe benefits tax. In this case, Hunger Project Australia sought endorsement in order to access the fringe benefits tax exemption…

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