We’re the most generous nation on earth (but the wealthy could help more)

Australia is the most giving country on the planet according to a new global index that measures charitable giving, from both companies and individuals. Compiled by the international Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), the World Giving Index for 2012 put Australia at the top of its list of the 20 best countries in terms of donating money, volunteering time and helping strangers. The index used data compiled by Gallup, and ranked 153 countries according to how charitable are their populations. Australia also topped a new five-year index from CAF, spanning from 2007 to 2011 (the most recent year of research). Overall, 76% of Australians gave money to a good cause in the past month of research data, up on the year before.

However according to the most recent figures released by the ATO (which after all adjustments and finalising is for the 2009-10 financial year), charitable giving by Australia’s wealthier individuals has actually plummeted, with those earning more than $1 million a year becoming less generous. ATO statistics showed that claims for tax-deductible donations of those earning more than $1 million annually have dropped from a collective $511 million two years prior to $120 million for 2009-10. While the same 60% of wealthy Australians are still giving, the average donation has shrunk from a high of $100,000 two years ago to $27,450 — which is around 73% less for the 2009-10 year. The remaining 40% of our wealthier citizens seem to have not submitted a deduction claim for giving to charity at all.

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