Earlier today the Full Federal Court handed down its judgment regarding the Hunger Project Australia case and rejected the Commissioner of Taxation’s appeal (Commissioner of Taxation v Hunger Project Australia  FCAFC 69). The court has unanimously held that Hunger Project Australia (HPA) does not need to directly give aid in order to be endorsed as a Public Benevolent Institution (PBI). Furthermore, the Court rejected all four arguments presented by the Commissioner and came to the following conclusion:
“In our opinion, whilst there is no single or irrefutable test or definition, the ordinary meaning or common understanding of a public benevolent institution includes (to adapt the words of Starke and Dixon JJ in Perpetual Trustee) an institution which is organized, or conducted for, or promotes the relief of poverty or distress. To adapt the words of Priestly JJ in ACOSS, such an institution conducts itself in a public way towards those in need of benevolence, however that exercise of benevolence may be manifested” [para 66].
This finding provides important guidance regarding what is a PBI and is likely to provide comfort for many charities who were awaiting the outcome of this appeal.
Should you have any questions in relation to this judgment, whether you charity is eligible for endorsement as a PBI or any other matters please do not hesitate to contact Bill d’Apice or Anna Lewis in our office.