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Make your money work

Money, Australian dollars, money on a pocket

Australians are increasingly interested in giving back, but it’s important to make sure your money is going as far as it can.

When it comes to structured giving, there are three main structures Aussie donors can use, Profile Financial Services’ Todd Stanford said.

These are private ancillary funds (PAFs), public ancillary funds (PuAF) or charitable trusts, and community foundations.

Mr Stanford explained that a PAF is a private charitable trust established and operated in Australia and is maintained under a will or trust.


“A private charitable trust or ‘PAF’ provides the most control over grant making decisions – and is very ‘hands on’. It can be ‘seen as a personal statement, even if only visible among a close-knit group’,” he explained.

“To justify the ongoing administration costs, a private trust or PAF is recommended to have capital of at least $500,000.”

How does it work?

A PAF needs to have a company as the trustee, with the board usually made up of family members. It also should contain at least one independent director.

It will also usually be exempt from federal taxes and eligible to receive cash refunds of franking credits and tax deductible gifts.

I don’t have $500,000 to spare

A lazy $500,000 might be hard to come by, but PuAFs or community sub-funds can be useful for those looking to donate $50,000 and more.

“A PuAF is a communal tax exempt philanthropic trust that enables a number of donors to establish and name a ‘sub fund’ under the broader PuAF structure,” Mr Stanford said.

“With a sub-fund, the donor does not need to worry about the trustee obligations and responsibilities associated with a private ancillary funds and can put their energy into choosing charities they would like to support.”

For those looking to spend less time on setting up and managing a fund, a PuAF is often a better option. It’s also tailored to the donor’s interests, while retaining some tax benefits.

“Anyone can donate to a donor ‘sub-fund’ and its purpose is to collect donations from the public. There are no limits on the amount that can be donated,” Mr Stanford added.

“This is contrasted to a PAF where a PAF must not solicit funds from the public and is limited in any one year from accepting donations exceeding 20 per cent of the PAF value from non-associates of the founder.”

Make your money work
Money, Australian dollars, money on a pocket
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