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Donating to charity

Posted on April 28, 2016 by admin

With so many charities competing for donations, it can pay to spend time researching to make sure your money is used for the cause you want to support. Just as important to making sure that the charity you donate to actually receives your donation. Here are some aspects to consider before you make a donation:

Choose a charity wisely
Regardless of what motivates you to support one charity over another, you should feel comfortable with your chosen charity’s activities and how it plans to use its donations. Donating directly to an overseas-based charity can be risky since it can be difficult verifying the information found on the charity’s websites or social media profiles.

How you will donate
There are a number of ways people can donate to charity. Some people feel comfortable making a regular set donation, whereas others prefer one-off donations. Individuals can also support a charity through automatic deductions from their salary. For example, if an employer has a workplace giving scheme, an employee’s donation can be deducted from their pay and sent directly to their preferred charity.

Those who opt to do this earn tax benefits at the time of donation and get a summary of payment at the end of the year. However, individuals should ensure that they can only participate in a workplace giving program if the charity has deductible gift recipient (DGR) status.

Another method of donating is to leave a bequest in your will. To do this, individuals need to contact the charity directly to discuss their plans.

Check if it is a legitimate charity
If the name of a charity seems unfamiliar, individuals should ask for more information about it, like where it is based, what its donations used for and if donations are tax deductible. Even if you have heard of the charity before, it can pay off to check that the person who contacted you is authorised to represent the charity.

Also, be wary of giving out your credit card details, as there are other ways of donating if it is a reputable charity contacting you.

Check if your donation is tax-deductible
A donation will only be tax deductible if it is donated to a charity that has been endorsed by the ATO as a deductible gift recipient (DGR) organisation.

Tax deductions are only given for donations that are $2 or more and claimed in the person’s tax return for the income year in which the donation was made.

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Avoiding mortgage default

Posted on August 26, 2020 by admin

As individuals struggle with cash flow through the coronavirus, the Australian Bankers Association records that repayments on almost 500,000 mortgages have been deferred for six months. While repayments can be delayed, they cannot be avoided altogether.

Lenders can send you a default notice the day your repayment is overdue. However, they could also wait until your repayment is overdue by 90 or more days. When you receive a default notice, you are given 30 days to repay the amounts you have missed in addition to the regular repayment on your loan. Individuals who are struggling with their home loan repayments can avoid mortgage default by considering the following.

Contact your lender
Lenders are generally willing to work with you through financial hardship. Don’t be afraid to contact your lender to discuss your situation and find out what options are available for you. Lenders are often willing to negotiate short-term variations to repayment schedules that both parties can agree to. However, make sure that you do not agree to unrealistic repayment conditions that cannot be met.

Many Australian banks are offering a six-month deferral on mortgage repayments (including interest) for customers who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. If this is you, contact your bank to see if this is an option.

Apply for a hardship variation
Mortgage holders may be able to change the terms of their loan or temporarily pause or reduce their repayments under a hardship variation. A hardship variation can still be requested after you receive a mortgage default. To apply for one, contact your lender’s “hardship officer” and tell them that you wish to change your loan repayments due to financial hardship. This will usually require you to explain why you are struggling to make payments and to estimate how long your financial problems will continue to determine how much you can afford to repay.

After submitting a hardship variation request, your lender must contact you within 21 days with the outcome of your request. They may ask you for more details regarding your request; in this case, they must contact you again within 21 days from when you provide the additional information.

Consider selling your home
Selling your home is a tough decision, but in some cases this may be the better option if your circumstances are unlikely to improve. If you get to the point where your lender takes possession of your home and sells it, it’s likely that you won’t make as much as if you sold it yourself. When you sell your house on your own terms, chances are you will get a better price and avoid having to pay the legal fees passed on by your lender. Inform your lender if you decide to sell your home; they may ask for proof, such as a copy of the contract with your real estate agent or property advertisements.

Renting out your home until you can afford to make repayments again may also be an option if you are able to live somewhere else during this period.

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