Non-government organisations (NGOs)
Update to list of developing countries
On 20 March, the Foreign Minister declared Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary as developing countries for the purposes of the Overseas Aid Deduction Scheme (OAGDS) in response to the Ukraine crisis. This enables approved organisations to issue tax deductible receipts for donations to support Ukrainian refugees in those four countries. Approved organisations’ aid activities must directly relate to support for Ukrainian refugees in those countries in order to be eligible.
The list of developing countries has been updated to now include Ukraine’s border countries: Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary. The list also reflects recent amendments by the OECD DAC to their list of ODA recipients, including removal of Antigua and Barbuda.
Overseas Aid Gift Deduction Scheme
The Overseas Aid Gift Deduction Scheme (OAGDS) enables Australian organisations to issue tax deductible receipts for donations to their overseas aid activities. These activities must be to support aid activities in countries that are declared as 'developing' by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Members of the Australian community can then claim their donation as a tax deduction.
OAGDS is one part of the process for obtaining endorsement as a deductible gift recipient (DGR). The DGR process is managed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). For more information, visit the Australian Taxation Office website.
The OAGDS Eligibility Criteria contain conditions that organisations need to meet in order to be declared as an 'approved organisation' by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The OAGDS Eligibility Criteria are available below.
Overseas Aid Gift Deduction Scheme - Eligibility Criteria [PDF 274 KB] | [DOCX 294 KB]
The OAGDS Guidelines assist organisations to understand the OAGDS Eligibility Criteria and application process, as well as the details and supporting evidence organisations can submit for each OAGDS Eligibility Criteria. The OAGDS Guidelines are available below.
Overseas Aid Gift Deduction Scheme - Guidelines [PDF 384 KB] | [DOCX 368 KB]
The OAGDS Frequently Asked Questions provide organisations with additional information on the process to be approved under the scheme. The OAGDS Frequently Asked Questions are available below.
Overseas Aid Gift Deduction Scheme - Frequently Asked Questions [PDF 293 KB] | [DOCX 272 KB]
All applications will be assessed under the OAGDS Eligibility Criteria and Guidelines. Please review these documents prior to commencing an application. The Eligibility Criteria include the following pre-eligibility requirements.
To be eligible to apply for OAGDS the organisation applying must:
- have a voluntary governing body, and
- be a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) and conform to the ACNC Governance Standards.
The OAGDS application system is available online. Organisations are able to provide details and supporting evidence that address the OAGDS Eligibility Criteria in the Application Form after registering in the system. The Application Form and supporting documentation are used for assessment purposes. A preview of the OAGDS application form is available below without registering in the system.
Preview of OAGDS Application Form [PDF 244 KB]
The OAGDS online application system can be accessed through the link below:
OAGDS online application system
Deductible Gift Recipient Reform and External Conduct Standards
Reforming administration of tax deductible gift recipients
The Australian Government has announced major reforms to the administration and oversight of charities operating overseas and organisations with Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) endorsement.
The DGR registers and Overseas Aid Gift Deduction Scheme will be integrated with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) charity register and duplicative reporting requirements will be abolished. The ACNC will also provide a central location for applications and reporting and will work with the ATO to provide a streamlined experience.
On 13 May 2020, Senator the Honourable Zed Seselja, Assistant Minister for Finance, Charities and Electoral Matters, announced the planned DGR reforms scheduled to be implemented on 1 July 2020, have been delayed.
Read the full media release: Deductible Gift Recipient Reforms Implementation Delay
More information about the latest tax law and policy reforms is on the Australian Tax Office (ATO) website.
Will this affect the OAGDS status my organisation currently holds?
Organisations that hold OAGDS status are required to be registered with the ACNC, so will need to comply with the new External Conduct Standards (ECS). Existing OAGDS status will not be affected by the transfer of the administration of OAGDS to the ACNC and the ATO.
Can I still apply for OAGDS?
Organisations planning to lodge an application should note the OAGDS program is to be transferred to the ACNC and the ATO in the future. Applications for OAGDS can be lodged until the transfer takes place. This website will be updated with information about transfer and transition arrangements as it becomes available.
External Conduct Standards
The External Conduct Standards (ECS) are a set of standards that came into effect in July 2019. They are administered by the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC) and govern how a registered charity must manage its activities and resources outside Australia.
The ECS require charities to take reasonable steps to ensure appropriate standards of behaviour, governance and oversight when undertaking activities or providing funding overseas.
They are intended to promote transparency and provide confidence that resources sent, or services provided, overseas reach legitimate beneficiaries and are used for legitimate charitable purposes. The ECS also seek to protect vulnerable people overseas. All registered charities that operate overseas, including those classified as Basic Religious Charities, must comply with the new ECS.
The ECS covers:
- How charities control their funds, goods and other resources overseas
- The need for an annual review of overseas activities and record-keeping
- Anti-fraud and anti-corruption
- Measures aimed at protecting vulnerable individuals.
All Australian charities operating overseas on development activities must comply, regardless of the size and scope of the overseas aid activity.
The ECS apply, in addition to the existing ACNC Governance Standards.
Where to find more information
Visit the ACNC website for more detail about the External Conduct Standards.
Should you require assistance or have any questions, please contact us by logging into the online application system and submitting an enquiry through the link below or by email to the address below. If you would like to speak with a member of the OAGDS administration team please indicate this in your email.
Online application system: OAGDS online application system enquiry
- Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission
- Australian Council for International Development
- Australian Securities and Investments Commission
- Australian Taxation Office
- Australian Aid Child Protection Policy
- Deductible Gift Recipients (Australian Taxation Office)
- Fundraising Requirements by State (Australian Taxation Office)
- International Counter-Terrorism
- List of developing countries
- Listing of Terrorist Organisations (Attorney-General's Department)
- ABN Lookup