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V. Uniformity of Tax Treatment

25.38. There are differences between the categories of institutions accorded tax assistance under the various statutes referred to in this chapter. Appendix A sets out the funds, authorities and institutions, gifts to which are deductible under section 78 (1) (a) of the Income Tax Assessment Act. Section 23 (e) of the Act exempts the income of a religious, scientific, charitable or public educational institution from tax. Thus under this section religious bodies are put on the same footing as the institutions listed in section 78 (1) (a). Section 14 (d) of the Gift Duty Assessment Act, exempting from duty gifts to non-profit institutions, covers many bodies such as sporting and political associations which fall outside the scope of charities. Section 8 (5) of the Estate Duty Assessment Act, reproduced in part in Appendix B to this chapter, lists institutions and funds bequests to which are exempt from estate duty: they differ from those listed in section 78 (1) (a) of the Income Tax Assessment Act. Appendix C summarises the main features of the different statutes.

25.39. Complete uniformity of treatment would be difficult to achieve. The differences may reflect deliberate choices about the amount of subsidies it is thought proper that different charities should receive. One of the chief problems is that section 78 (1) (a) of the Income Tax Assessment Act does not include religious bodies. Another is that section 14 (d) of the Gift Duty Assessment Act, covering all non-profit organisations, exempts from duty gifts to political organisations and sporting bodies. The Committee expresses no opinion on whether it is appropriate that an exemption as wide as that in the Gift Duty Assessment Act should be included in the other statutes dealing with charities, or whether it is appropriate that gifts to religious bodies should be deductible under section 78 (1) (a) of the Income Tax Assessment Act. It would, however, be convenient if a common list of organisations which it is thought should be entitled to all the concessions given to charities by the Income Tax Assessment Act, the Gift Duty Assessment Act and the Estate Duty Assessment Act were established and adopted by each of these Acts.

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