Both major party leaders told Paddy Gower in the leaders debate that if they became Prime Minister they’ll be “looking at” whether charities with trading ventures such as Sanitarium should pay income tax.
It’s perfectly reasonable that from time-to-time governments test whether charity rules remain fit for purpose, but New Zealand needs to tread carefully before cancelling the centuries-old tax exemption for charities. It could be a Pandora’s Box of unintended consequences which could damage an already cash-strapped charitable sector. If the rules are changed to make trading charities pay income tax it will mean less money for not-for-profits like the Cancer Society, St John, Girl Guides, Hospice, Presbyterian Support, Forest & Bird and many others. If a poll was done on whether these organisations should pay tax on their fundraising, most would answer no.
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