Three tax tips in time for June

Roewen Wishart, NeuRA Foundation Director, has three tips for you on how you can give for medical research while saving tax.

How you help to fund medical breakthroughs

Fortunately for medical research, our system of government provides ways you can support medical research. Firstly, when you pay tax you are contributing to Australia’s merit-based program to support research. NeuRA’s scientists have excellent success rates in the hotly contested grants funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, and the Australian Research Council. Two examples of recent successes: large grants for research to understand, and help treat and prevent motor impairment across many different diseases, and to trial innovative home-based balance-strengthening exercise programs delivered by iPad to reduce risk of falls (Sydney based volunteers aged over 70 are wanted). The latter project, Standing Tall, was also funded in its first critical stage by Gandel Philanthropy.

You also have a second option, and that is to make tax deductible donations to support a particular research area or a particular medical research institute. In effect, when you do this, you are ‘voting with your wallet’. In this age of self-managed superannuation funds, no matter what your income and circumstances, you can ‘self-manage’ the research you wish to support.

When you donate to NeuRA, you also support vital doctoral scholarships and buy equipment that will speed our discoveries, which government can’t or won’t fund.

If you plan to give at tax time in a few months, you may like to take advantage of our three donations and tax tips.

Private donations vital for brain research

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Dr Claire Shepherd

Pictured here is Dr Claire Shepherd, Senior Research Facility Manager of the Sydney Brain Bank at NeuRA. It is a collaboration of NeuRA and UNSW.

Studies in living people still cannot measure many aspects of the brain, particularly the specific chemicals in cells. This is required to diagnose diseases and to understand their causes. What scientists learn from donated brain tissue is irreplaceable. Brain donation is a special activity which is not covered by normal organ donation consent; both people with brain diseases and healthy people over 60 years are encouraged to join (NSW only – for other states, please visit the Australian Brain Bank Network for listing).

The Sydney Brain Bank stores and distributes samples from over 950 brains to NeuRA researchers, and to others in Australia and beyond. Uniquely, researchers have typically monitored a brain donor’s health, brain function and structure for years before receiving their brain. Matching that knowledge, with what can be observed in their brain tissue, allows powerful scientific deductions. Since 2009, over 90 scientific studies have been published using this data.

A donation will help to achieve earlier and more accurate diagnosis, better treatments, and ultimately, cure and prevention of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s – which have huge impacts on people with the disease and their families and carers.

Tip 1 – Spread the value of your donations

You may be unaware that you can make tax deductible gifts of any size (more than $2), then spread out the benefit of the deductions across five years, in whatever percentages you wish – for example to defer a deduction if you have a year with lower taxable income.

If you are keen to support NeuRA with an extra gift this financial year, you can give more and therefore plan the benefit of the deductions.

More complex rules and a higher threshold of $5,000 apply for gifts other than money – for example gifts of shares, property, etc. and certain specialised gifts like art works.

Tip 2 – No-fee donation of shares

You can also choose to donate small ‘unmarketable parcels’ of shares to any Deductible Gift Recipient charity and receive a tax deduction for the proceeds, if more than $2. The not-for-profit Share Gift Australia will sell the shares for you brokerage free, and donate the proceeds to a charity of your choice when the value is $50 or more.

You can use the same process to donate small parcels of shares from a deceased estate. If you plan to do this, allow a month or two before 30 June. The sale and donation of the proceeds does still carry CGT implications.

Tip 3 – Start a regular donation now

To plan your giving, please consider giving a regular donation each month and help NeuRA to See it Through to a Cure. No need to wait until June to make your plans. You can also read our Regular Giving Guarantee here.

NeuRA’s researchers are deeply grateful for your support. Please phone our Foundation staff with any questions or to make a donation by credit card on 1300 888 019, or email us at foundation@neura.edu.au.

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