Business

Donations plunge 36% after SG50

After a record amount of tax-deductible donations during Singapore's Golden Jubilee in 2015, the feel-good sentiment waned, and the amount received last year fell sharply by 36 per cent, from $1.361 billion to $865.6 million.

It is the lowest since 2011, and the situation may not improve this year, charities said.

"The economic uncertainty may have had an adverse effect on charitable giving," said the Office of the Commissioner of Charities (COC).

Its annual report released on Thursday showed tax-deductible donations by companies fell by nearly half last year. Donations by individuals dipped by 10.4 per cent.

The Office of the COC also attributed the sharp fall in donations to the tax deduction of 300 per cent reverting to 250 per cent after 2015.

INCENTIVE

The tax incentive was enhanced that year to encourage giving in celebration of Singapore's 50th birthday.

It meant that for every dollar donated, $3 - instead of $2.50 - was deducted from the donor's taxable income.

Only charities that are institutions of public character can collect tax-exempt donations.

Social service veteran Gerard Ee, chairman of the Charity Council, which advises the COC, said: "A 36 per cent drop in tax-deductible donations is a lot, but it is not that surprising, since 2015 was also an unusual year."

The amount had jumped 24.6 per cent from 2014 to 2015. Apart from the enhanced tax incentive and the feel-good mood, there was also Care and Share, a government grant that matched donations from December 2013 to March last year.

Mr Ee said: "I would be very happy if the figure just stabilises. Businesses have been seeing less profits, so they may be less inclined to give."

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