Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

GetUp's Finances Queried; Scrutiny Puts Left-Wing Pressure Group on Attack

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

GetUp's Finances Queried; Scrutiny Puts Left-Wing Pressure Group on Attack

Article excerpt

Byline: John Rolfe news@dailymercury.com.au

IT accuses others of minimising tax, now left-wing pressure group GetUp is facing questions over its own finances.

A News Corp Australia investigation reveals queries have been raised over why the activist organisation did not pay tax on its 2018 profits, as well as its deferral of income and treatment of donations as "non-assessable".

In the midst of its campaign to oust the Coalition, GetUp on Thursday dismissed the concerns and went on the attack, forcing a retraction from the Deakin University academics who freely gave an opinion on the accounts for News Corp Australia.

In an email sent at 7pm on Wednesday, a Deakin accounting department academic told News Corp Australia: "There is a prima facie case for GetUp to provide a more detailed explanation and rationale for deferring income and for classifying some of their donations as non-assessable income.

"Indeed, GetUp also admits in its 2018 financial report under notes to the financial statements that it ... deferred income."

The academic sent the email after he and a colleague had scrutinised several years of GetUp financial statements.

The academic continued: "GetUp is not a charity but is a private not-for-profit organisation, which suggests it receives no tax concessions from the Australian Taxation Office and thus any income that GetUp receives via donations should be treated as taxable income."

At 8am Thursday, News Corp Australia provided the Deakin academics' full opinion to GetUp. At 11.30am the academic said GetUp's lawyers had contacted the university's legal department.

At midday, he sent an email saying: "Based on commentary provided by the university's solicitor, my colleague and I retract ... comments relating to GetUp's financial affairs. We do this after giving due consideration to our positions as individual academics providing commentary to the media."

The head of HLB Mann Judd's not-for-profit division, audit partner Darryl Swindells, said he could not understand why GetUp did not have to pay tax on its latest profit of $153,000. …

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