THE ‘DIRECT’ REQUIREMENT FOR A PUBLIC BENEVOLENT INSTITUTION – DOES THE HUNGER PROJECT CASE CONFIRM IT NEVER APPLIED?
By Fiona Martin and Ian Murray
On 17 July 2013, Perram J handed down his decision in The Hunger Project Australia v Commissioner of Taxation (‘Hunger Project Case’), which confirms, despite at least a decade of Australian Taxation Office (ATO) practice, that there is no requirement for public benevolent institutions (PBIs) to provide ‘direct’ relief. This note examines the decision and the prior understanding of the PBI concept in order to comment on the potential implications for PBIs and for government. These implications are important because the term ‘PBI’ is used in a range of Commonwealth, state and territory and local government legislation to provide tax concessions and exemptions to a particular class of not-for-profit entities.