11 April 2017
Media Release - #2017035, 2017

Declaring Cyclone Debbie a disaster for tax purposes

The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, today declared Tropical Cyclone Debbie, and the associated rainfall and flooding, a disaster for the purposes of establishing Australian disaster relief funds.

“The people of Queensland and northern New South Wales have shown remarkable resilience in the aftermath of this terrible event,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

“I commend the men and women of the state and local emergency services and Australian Defence force for their tireless efforts in support of the many affected communities.

“Australians are working together to support those communities that have been devastated. The Government is moving quickly to allow qualifying new and existing funds established for the relief of people affected by Tropical Cyclone Debbie to receive tax deductible donations.”

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) are available to assist with this process. Funds will need to apply for formal endorsement via the ATO’s website.

Donations to Australian disaster relief funds, established to provide relief in the aftermath of the cyclone, will be tax deductible for a period of two years from 28 March 2017, the date the cyclone made landfall in Queensland.

In order to further assist the communities that have been impacted by Cyclone Debbie, the ATO has also initiated fast tracking of tax refunds for people affected by extreme weather and flooding in Queensland and New South Wales.

Taxpayers and their Tax and BAS agents will also have additional time to lodge income tax returns and activity statements.

Automatic deferrals of one month are now in place for tax lodgement and payment dates (excluding large pay as you go withholders) for people in identified postcodes. The ATO’s website has a list of locations that are deemed to fall within affected regions and new lodgement dates for those regions.

Individuals who have a business or reside within a region that is not listed but have been impacted by the disaster can call the ATO on 1800 806 218 for assistance.