Here is a study which will bring a little note of optimism in the associative world upset by the crisis. The annual Research and Solidarity barometer, which The cross publishes exclusively, shows that the unprecedented drop in donations to associations recorded in 2018 remains an isolated accident. In 2019, donations are indeed on the rise.
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Based on the exhaustive study of income tax returns completed by taxpayers last spring, the barometer reveals that the main indicators have returned to green. Starting with the most important, that of the amount of donations collected. In 2019, they started to rise again, by 2.4%, even without taking into account the outpouring of generosity triggered by the Notre-Dame fire.
This rebound not only makes it possible to erase the decline of the previous year but also to pass for the first time the bar of 2.6 billion euros in donations collected. “This confirms that the year 2018 was really atypical, with many tax changes and yellow vests at the end of the year, a crucial period for the collection of associations, underlines Jacques Malet, president of Recherches et solidarités. In 2019, we are back to a more normal situation, and this is happy news ».
However, all is not rosy in the landscape of generosity. Because if the amount collected increases, this can only be explained by the increase in the average donation. This reached the record level of 550 €. On the other hand, the number of households which enter a donation on their declaration drops again. They were only 4.7 million in this case in 2019.
Decrease in the number of donors
So even in this rather good year 2019 for donations, the donor base continues to erode. Between 2013 and 2019, “The decline is 14%, or 780,000 donor households less”, notes the study. This decline can be explained, in part, by the steady increase in the number of non-taxable households, which have less incentive to declare donations since they do not benefit from the tax reduction.
But only in part. Because the drop also affects the number of taxpayers. Despite the tax incentive, the proportion of donor households among taxed households fell in four years from over 23% to less than 21%.
The increase in the average donation combined with the reduction in the number of donors confirms the tightening of donation around a hard core of donors. Always more generous, these are unfortunately always fewer. “This trend is obviously a warning. It should encourage us to think even more urgently about ways to expand and renew our pool of donors ”, worries Pierre Siquier, president of France Générosités, the “union” bringing together the major associations.
A leap for the IFI
As in previous years, the Research and Solidarity barometer shows the preponderant weight of donations from the oldest and most affluent taxpayers. Those over 70 represent a third of donors and contribute nearly 40% of the sums collected. Likewise, the wealthiest households are over-represented among donors and the average donation of those imposed on the last bracket of the scale exceeds € 1,250 per year.
This generosity of the best-off is found this year in the donations declared by households subject to the property tax (IFI), successor to the ISF since 2018. The first vintage of the IFI was indeed particularly disappointing. in terms of donations. If the fall was foreseeable, the IFI only affecting a third of those who previously paid the ISF (130,000 against 360,000), its magnitude had greatly worried the association officials.
“A year later, the reform seems to be better assimilated and the better-off are getting back to solidarity”, rejoices Jacques Malet. The amount of declared donations jumped by more than 30% to reach 147 million euros. A jump due to the increase in the proportion of donor households, which rose from 15% to more than 18% in one year.
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At the same time, the average amount of IFI donations remains high, over € 5,620 per household. With even greater peaks among very, very wealthy households, those with the most IFIs to “erase”. The average donation from households with more than 10 million euros of real estate assets thus exceeds… 30,000 €.
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For the first time, Recherches et solidarités also obtained from Bercy a cross-referencing of the files between IFI and income tax. It emerges that those who are generous are often doubly so: nearly three quarters of households declaring donations under the IFI also do so under the RI.
The millions of Notre-Dame de Paris
In the tax return completed last spring, a specific box was intended for donations made for the benefit of the restoration of Notre-Dame de Paris, accompanied by a tax reduction increased by 75%. According to Bercy accounts, around 120,000 taxpayers declared a donation of this type, for a total amount of 24.7 million euros. A lower figure than one might expect. A recent report from the Court of Auditors identified more than 338,000 individuals who participated in the national fundraising for a cumulative amount of 65 million euros.