IMPORTANT: This post is specific to New Zealand. If you are not a New Zealand business/taxpayer then it is probably not applicable to you.
We have a number of Charity clients who are GST registered. The number one issue we have to deal with for these clients is sorting out what income streams should be subject to GST. Just because you are a Charity doesn’t mean that all your income is exempt from GST.
This has become relevant recently as the IRD has begun challenging a number of scenarios in this space. In particular, the IRD has published a Revenue Alert looking at private schools and kindergartens that required parents to make a “gift” to the school or related foundation. The school, therefore, didn’t charge GST on the “fees” and the parents claimed a tax credit on the “gift.” The IRD is investigating and reversing lots of these, and tax fraud charges are likely to those who promoted the arrangement! I tell my clients that they should treat all receipts as GSTable UNLESS they can prove that it is not. There is an alarming trend among charities (and this includes Churches, where honest and ethics are supposed to be virtues) to reliable a receipt as a “donation” and therefore grant a tax credit to the “donor” and avoid having to pay GST by the Charity (forgive my rant, but which part of claiming the input tax credit for the organization and then failing to pay the output tax credit is ethical?).