Donating shares rather than cash

26 March, 2018

Australia has one of the highest levels of share ownership in the world and each year, shareholders are looking to leverage their portfolio as part of their legacy. A fraction of ASX’s current market capitalisation of around $1.5 trillion would easily generate a huge shift in philanthropic funding in Australia.

MS Research Australia has recognised the need to diversify and attract fundraising across a variety of sources. One such alternative is ShareGift Australia. This organisation is the only service of its kind in Australia and is based on the model of ShareGift UK. Since the organisation’s establishment in 2007, they have distributed over $1.6 million to more than 470 charities.

To achieve this, they work with stockbroking partners to facilitate the share sale without charging brokerage, so if you are an Australian shareholder you can claim a tax deduction for the share’s full market value. Shareholders can nominate MS Research Australia as the recipient charity where the share sale donation exceeds AUD$100. Alternatively, you can elect to pool your donation and allow ShareGift Australia to make donations to several charities. 100% of all donated share proceeds are used for charitable purposes.

ShareGift Australia can be used as a great vehicle to support MS Research Australia now or factored in as a bequest later. Whilst we recommend consulting with your accountant, utilising a service such as ShareGift Australia can be a more tax-effective way to make a donation, creating the potential for larger charitable bequests or a greater amount left over for other beneficiaries.

Consider this simple example. There are circumstances in which assets such as shares can be directly bequeathed to a charity. These assets may have significant capital gains attached to them. If the charity has zero tax status then these assets can be transferred without tax being incurred on the capital gains. Compare this to the situation where all the assets of the estate are sold down: capital gains will be incurred, and the amount of money that can be distributed amongst beneficiaries, including the charity, is smaller.

To find out more in plain, simple language, visit the ShareGift Australia website www.sharegiftaustralia.org.au.

Jillian Kingsford Smith

Jillian Kingsford Smith has worked internationally as a journalist, turning her hand to writing books in 2012 when she was diagnosed with MS at the age of 42. She is a Kiss Goodbye to MS Ambassador, MS Research Australia Advocate and best-selling author.

Twitter: @JillianKS

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