We are often approached by non government organisations looking to raise funds to support their overseas aid activities. It is possible to establish a fund which can then seek deductible gift recipient endorsement as an Overseas Aid Fund under the Overseas Aid Gift Deduction Scheme (the “OAGDS”).
Under the OAGDS, strict criteria must be met by the organisation, the fund established, and the partner organisation/s in the developing country or countries where the aid activities are occurring. The complexity of this exercise, and the resource required by the charity to achieve an outcome, has made establishing such a fund impossible for many charities.
In light of the difficulties faced by charities, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is in the process of conducting a review of the OAGDS. The primary purpose of the review is “to make the OAGDS guidelines and processes clearer, simpler and more robust, while reflecting current international development practice and standards”.
Of the key findings noted from the submissions made to the Department, and the roundtable discussions that occurred, it was noted that the current application process was overly time-consuming and highly resource-intensive. It was also posited that the current guidelines are “too prescriptive and do not reflect overseas aid charities in the broad”. In light of this, there was discussion around providing pathways for other forms of organisations, such as philanthropic, social enterprise and small charities. The Summary of Findings from the review can be accessed here.
Applications under the old guidelines closed on 31 October 2015. It is expected that the new guidelines will be launched in December 2015/January 2016, with new applications being taken from February 2016. We will provide a further update once the new guidelines are available for review.