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Bicycle Victoria denied DGR status

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Bicycle Victoria is a not-for-profit organisation with more than 45,000 members who aims to get ‘more people cycling more often’.

After a legal battle with The Australian Tax Office (ATO), the Administrative Appeals Tribunal found that Bicycle Victoria is a charitable institution and exempt from income tax.

The Deputy Commissioner said that Bicycle Victoria “is for the purpose of promoting cycling in all its forms and for the overall purpose of promoting fitness. That is a purpose that has been recognised as charitable. Therefore, I am satisfied that Bicycle Victoria is a charitable institution.”

However, the Deputy Commissioner did not rule that Bicycle Victoria is a Health Promotion Charity, meaning it could not be granted DGR status.

A Health Promotion Charity is defined a charitable institution whose principal activity is to promote the prevention or the control of diseases in human beings. DGR status allows donations to organisations of more than $2 to be tax-deductible.

Bicycle Victoria CEO Harry Barber said “We had made the case to the Australian Tax Office that the work that we do and the reason that we do it means that we should be considered a Health Promotion Charity.”

“Bicycle Victoria’s purpose is to promote the health of the community through the prevention and control of disease by ‘more people cycling more often’,” Barber said. “Today physical activity is ranked second only to tobacco control as the most important factor in disease prevention in Australia.”

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal’s ruling that Bicycle Victoria is not a Health Promotion Charity has caused many in the sector to question which organisations should be granted official charity status and DGR status, and the effects that such statuses have on the not-for-profit sector.

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