Deductibility of donations from 1 January 2017- simply automatic A service for donors

Your donations must be submitted by the charitable organisations to your tax office and for the first time automatically transferred to your (employee) tax assessment for 2017.

Saving taxes made easy

Deductibility of donations reformed as of 1 January 2017. Your donations must be submitted by the charitable organisations to your tax office and for the first time automatically transferred to your (employee) tax assessment for 2017. This means that you no longer need to keep your donation receipt and no longer need to make sure that you enter your donations in your (employee) tax assessment. The amounts you have paid will be automatically considered in your (employee) tax assessment.

We have summarised the most important questions on the subject for you in this folder.

Which donations are tax-deductible?

Donations that are deductible as special expenses are donations to research and science institutions (e.g. universities), museums, volunteer fire departments and regional fire associations throughout Austria mentioned in texts on the law, as well as donations to associations and institutions included in the list of beneficiaries of donations. You can find the current list of these beneficiaries of donations on the website of the Federal Ministry of Finance at www.bmf.gv.at/spenden.

How does automatic tax consideration work after 1 January 2017?

For donations to be automatically considered in your (employee) tax assessment, you need to disclose your full name and date of birth to the recipient organisation. It is particularly important that you enter your details correctly here, and in particular that the spelling of your name matches that on the residence registration form. So, all your donations can be reported automatically. The tax office considers these amounts in your assessment; you no longer need to enter them in your tax return. The transmission of data concerns donations made on or after 1 January 2017. Organisations must report them  to the tax authorities as a total amount by the end of February of the following year. Therefore, such transmissions for payments for the year 2017 will be performed for the first time by 28 February  2018.

Do I have to worry that my data may be compromised, or that I may become a ‘transparent donor’?

No. The transmission of data is performed using the latest technology, which ensures maximum data protection: Your personal data are encrypted and can then only be used by the tax office dealing with your tax assessment. This is done in accordance with the strict data privacy regulations based on the so-called Encrypted Area-Specific Personal Identification Code for Taxes and Duties (in German: “verschlüsseltes bereichsspezifisches Personenkennzeichen für Steuern und Abgaben”, abbreviated as “vbPK SA”). Since only the financial administration is able to decrypt this identification code again, unauthorised persons, authorities or institutions cannot access this information.

What should I do if I don’t want my data to be transmitted?

If you do not want to transmit data, do not disclose your data. Please note, however, that in this case you cannot deduct your donation in your (employee) tax assessment either. If you have already disclosed your data, you can prohibit the organisations concerned from passing on your data at any time in writing. Then there will be no tax consideration for your payments either.

Can I no longer donate anonymously in the future?

Of course, you can continue to do this. However, as before, you will not be able to deduct your donations as special expenses in your (employee) tax assessment.

How does donating “at the door” work from 2017 onwards?

Of course, cash donations can still be taken into account for tax purposes in 2017 and beyond. An organisation that collects donations “at the door” must in this case record the donor’s first and last name and date of birth. On this basis, the amount of the donation is then notified to the tax office, which will automatically take the amount into account in the donor’s tax assessment. Irrespective of this, payment forms can also be used as before.

How does donating by means of payment forms work from 2017 onwards?

Payment forms can be used as before. The banks have developed special payment forms for donations whereby you can disclose the required data – your first and last name as well as your date of birth.

Where and how can I check which donations have been reported by the organisation?

If you already use the FinanzOnline service, you can view the data transmitted by the beneficiary organisations in your electronic tax file. If you submit your (employee) tax assessment in paper form, you will see which amounts have been considered by which organisation in your tax assessment notice.

If the organisation has reported an incorrect amount – where and how can I complain?

Basically, the following applies: If the taxpayer has fulfilled his/her obligation to disclose his/her first and last name and date of birth, it is reasonable to expect correct transmission by the recipient organisation. Nevertheless, mistakes cannot be ruled out; this will be the case if the beneficiary organisation transmits incorrect data, or no data at all. In these cases, the beneficiary organisation must correct the error once it has been brought to its attention by the taxpayer. A corrected or first-time transmission must then be performed, which will be the basis for the further fiscal assessment.

Example:

Mr John Doe has donated €300 to the beneficiary environmental protection organisation E, and another €200 to the beneficiary animal welfare organisation W, and in each case disclosed his first and last name as well as his date of birth. As Mr Doe is about to submit his employee tax assessment in FinanzOnline after the end of the year, he wants to check whether the donations made by him were correctly reported as well. In FinanzOnline, Mr Doe can see the amounts reported by the organisations receiving the donations. Mr Doe sees that organisation W has reported an incorrect amount of €100, rather than €200. Therefore, Mr Doe contacts organisation W, requesting a correction; W corrects the transmission by reporting the correct amount. After the correction, Mr Doe submits his tax return; in the tax office decision, the donations are considered to amount to €500.

If Mr Doe only detects the error in the transmission after receipt of the notice, as before has can still lodge a complaint within one month after notification of the decision. However, even after this period has expired, notification of a correction will lead to consideration of the amount by resuming the tax procedure.

From 1 January 2017, onwards, detailed information on the issues of donations, donation deductibility and automatic notification of your donations to your tax office can be found on the website of the Ministry of Finance at www.bmf.gv.at/spenden (in German only)

In addition, the financial administration has set up a hotline, which is open from Monday to Thursday from 7.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. and on Fridays from 7.30 a.m. to 12 p.m. by calling  +43 50 233 750.

What do I have to do for my (employee) tax assessment for 2016?

Please note that in your (employee) tax assessment for the year 2016, you will still have to report your donations made during this year to the tax office yourself if you want to deduct your donations.