A new law which will have an impact on charities was recently passed by the Queensland Parliament.

Charities currently accessing state revenue exemptions via their status as a ‘charitable institution’ should be aware of the changes it brings, although the Queensland Treasurer has promised that those already registered will not suffer as a result of the changes.

The amendments specifically require qualification as a charitable institution under the Taxation Administration Act 2001, particularly in relation to any distribution of income and property, dividends and possible transfer of assets upon dissolution.

The Queensland Law Society expressed concerns regarding aspects of the draft bill in relation to the short transition period, the possible need to judicial approval in the case of some trusts, wording of constitutional documentation and the increased likelihood of higher legal costs for charities.

The Treasurer sought to allay the society’s concerns by issuing a range of public rulings from the Office of State Revenue in relation to the Bill and by making allowances during the transition period.

Paxton-Hall Lawyers advises charities that ‘great care should be taken by a will maker who chooses to establish a charitable trust in their will’.

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