Tax breaks 'boost philanthropy'

Helen Barrett

Governments offering generous tax breaks on individual charitable donations succeed in encouraging high levels of giving, new research has found.

US citizens, whose donations are fully tax-deductible, are the most generous, according to the International Comparisons of Charitable Giving, published this week by the Charities Aid Foundation.

The research identifies the cultural and political factors that have a major impact on philanthropic trends among the citizens of 12 countries. Other countries with generous schemes, such as the UK and Canada, also score highly.

But citizens of high-income countries where social insurance contributions are high often give less. This includes France, which donates the lowest proportion to charity as a percentage of its GDP.

"The research points to the need for the sector to understand some of these relationships," said Andrew Jones, executive director of external affairs at CAF. "It's intended to be a snapshot and a contribution to debate, but it highlights complex relationships between charitable giving and the various regimes, cultures and levels of engagement in society.

If we understand these drivers for giving, it could help the sector fundraise in a sustainable way."

The full report is free to download at www.cafonline.org/internationalgiving.

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