Vote Yes and Vote No signage (file image)
The official 'yes' and 'no' campaigns both have tax deductibility status for donations. Image by Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS

Tax claims about voice donations deduct the truth

Mikele Syron October 6, 2023

Donations for the ‘yes’ campaign in the voice referendum are tax deductible, but not for the ‘no’ campaign.


False. Both campaigns have been given deductible gift recipient status.

Social media users are claiming donations to the official ‘yes’ campaign for the voice referendum are tax deductible, but money given to the ‘no’ camp is not.

It’s suggested that this is the latest attempt to create an unfair playing field ahead of the October 14 poll.

But the claim is false. Both campaigns have been granted deductible gift recipient (DGR) status.

One of the Facebook posts (screenshot here) claims “if you donate to the yes campaign it’s tax deductible if you donate to the NO campaign it’s not tax deductible discrimination at its best people Vote NO”.

A screenshot of the Facebook post.
 Social media posts are spreading misinformation about campaign donations. 

Similar claims are being made across social media, as seen here and here.

Australians for Indigenous Constitutional Recognition (AICR) – the group leading the Yes23 campaign – registered as a charity in October 2019.

The group applied for DGR status on June 20, 2022, and it was announced in the 2022/23 budget in October (page 17).

It came into effect on April 1, 2023, more than nine months after the initial application.

The history of the ‘no’ campaign’s application is not as linear, as explained in this previous AAP FactCheck debunk.

The Voice No Case Committee, also known as Recognise a Better Way, only submitted an application for DGR status on March 6, 2023.

The successful application was due to be announced in the budget, delivered on May 9.

However, the group contacted the Treasury on May 8, the day before the budget, to advise it wished to withdraw the proposal.

Because the budget papers had already been finalised, an announcement of the DGR status, pending registration with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, appeared in the 2023/24 budget (page 24).

The group withdrew its application in order to merge with another ‘no’ campaign group, Fair Australia, under the new name Australians for Unity.

The group was required to seek the status as a separate entity.

It was granted DGR status in June, three months after its application was lodged.

It was announced that the status would be backdated to when Australians for Unity became a charity (April 13).

Jacinta Nampijinpa Price and Warren Mundine (file image)
 Jacinta Nampijinpa Price and Nyanggai Warren Mundine merged their ‘no’ campaigns. 

AAP FactCheck previously tackled a related misleading claim made by former prime minister Tony Abbott in February.

He said the government was trying to give the ‘yes’ campaign an advantage by granting it tax deductibility status, without doing the same for the ‘no’ camp.

He failed to mention that the ‘no’ campaign hadn’t even applied for DGR status at that time.

Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, who leads the Fair Australia group, made a similar claim in August, telling her followers: “The Yes campaign have had DGR status since last year while the government fumbled and only just recognised and awarded the No campaign in June.”

She provided no context of the aborted application and failed to mention the processing time was much shorter for the ‘no’ campaign application than for the ‘yes’ campaign.

The Verdict

The claim the ‘yes’ campaign for the voice referendum has received tax deductibility status on donations while the ‘no’ campaign has not is false.

Both campaigns have been granted deductible gift recipient status.

Approval of the ‘yes’ campaign’s status took more than nine months from the initial application, while the ‘no’ campaign’s took three months.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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