Tax-deductible donations to charity hit $1.4b in SG50 year, the highest in at least 17 years

Tax-deductible donations have allowed people to contribute more to charity.
Tax-deductible donations have allowed people to contribute more to charity. ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

SINGAPORE - The idea of being taxed less after donating to charity got people opening up their wallets a lot more last year. Tax-deductible donations to charity hit $1.4 billion in 2015 - a rise of more than 24 per cent from the year before, and the highest in at least 17 years.

The Office of the Commissioner of Charities (COC) revealed this in its annual report released on Friday (Aug 12). The rise in donations was largely due to the increase in tax deduction from 250 per cent to 300 per cent, to encourage more charitable giving in celebration of Singapore's Golden Jubilee, said the COC.

The increase in tax deduction, announced in last year's Budget speech, means that for every $1 donated to a registered charity, $3 will be deducted from the donor's taxable income for the year. This applies only to donations made in 2015. Currently, qualifying donations are entitled to a 250 per cent tax deduction.

The report also highlighted various collaborations between the Office of the COC and its partners to strengthen governance standards and transparency practices of charities.

Mr Low Puk Yeong, the Commissioner of Charities, said: "Our mission is to build a well-governed and thriving charity sector with strong public confidence. To achieve this, we are committed to working with all charities and partners to uphold good standards of governance and transparency."

To encourage good disclosure practices among charities, the Office of the COC worked with the Charity Council - which advises the COC and promotes good governance among charities - to develop the Charity Transparency Framework.

Charities which are assessed to have exemplary disclosure practices using this framework will be recognised at the inaugural Charity Transparency Awards in September.

The Office of the COC also made available annual reports and governance evaluation checklists of registered charities for public viewing online via the Charity Portal in December 2015.

It said it will continue to work with partners to help charities strengthen their capabilities and raise their governance standards. This includes a review of the Charities Act, the Code of Governance and other public education efforts to promote informed giving.

The latest annual report by the Office of the COC is at www.charities.gov.sg