Local telco should waive the telco charges for Charity Shows

I was reading news about how people in the States use twitter to broadcast the SMS number to donate money to Haiti when I came across this article. Apparently, all four major telcos in US are waiving the charges for those who HAITI to 90999 to donate $10. (Don’t try in Singapore hor, only works in America)

I think that is good for these telco to waive the charges. After all, the money is going to charity. Why should you be making money out of Charity. Besides, the infrastructure is already there. It doesn’t take much operating cost to help collect donations from SMS. Telcos take it as a form of corporate social responsibility.

Which makes me wonder, should the local telco waive charges for the Charity Show 1900 hotline? We know that Ren Ci Hospital just had a Charity show recently on Channel U. I can’t help but notice that the Singtel is charging $0.20 admin fee for every 1900 call you make. $0.20 is a small amount. But think about it. Ren Ci raised $4.2m from public donation during the charity show. Assuming everyone use the $15 hotline, that would be 280000 calls or $56000 worth of admin charges collected.

$56000 can do a lot for the patients at Ren Ci.

Maybe it is too late for me to raise this topic. But I really hope that the local Telco will take a leaf from US telco’s book and waive the charges for charity hotlines in the future. I know Singtel has this Touching Lives Fund every year where they raise funds for local charity. Perhaps they could do a little more outside the Touching Lives Fund period. Charity organization can thank the Telco for waiving the admin charges during the charity show. Win win for everyone.


Speaking of extra charges on charity hotline. I notice that there is a GST component too. Why is there GST for Charity hotline too? According to IRAS website:

Charity TV show with donations made by telephone or SMS message to the donation helpline
If the charity TV show does not give away prizes or rewards to donors, GST is not payable on the public donations received. GST is payable on the public donations only when the charity TV show has lucky draws, giving the donors a chance to win prizes and rewards. Accounting of GST is based on 7/107 on the gross donations received less cash payouts to the winners.

For each call or SMS message to a specific hotline to make donations, the service provider (separate from the charity) may impose an administrative charge for the service rendered. If the service provider is a GST-registered person, the administrative charge is subject to GST, similar to other local telephone call charges.

The Ren Ci Charity show doesn’t have luckily draw. So why is there GST? Or is the GST just for the $0.20 admin fee? Anyone got any idea?

8 Responses to 'Local telco should waive the telco charges for Charity Shows'

  1. aCeMaSk says:

    Was just discussing this with a colleague the other day. Basically it seems what the telco does is charge an admin charge, then donate the amount back to the charity. This way they can get tax relief off the amount donated. If they waive, they don’t get the tax relief.

  2. dk says:

    Acemask: I didn’t know about this practice. If this is the case, then it will be great.

  3. DC says:

    That 20 cent was the reason why I didn’t donate to Renci.
    .-= DC´s last blog ..Apple Is A Girls’ Best Friend =-.

  4. aCeMaSk says:

    dk: Most of the charity shows I’ve watched, the telcos usually make quite a big corporate donation. At least that’s what I remembered, because I used to wonder why charge then donate.

  5. Lester Chan says:

    I think some years back, this topic is raised before. I think the reply is somewhere along the line of “they are a business entity and not a charity organization” which is true to a certain extend. Last time they used to be like 3 charity shows per year and it is not feasible for the telecom to waive the charges for every show every year.

  6. Shawn Lim says:

    I think you have raised a good point here. And its never too late to talk about this topic.

    I know there are some people who refused to call in to donate on charity shows because of the telco charges. I’m one of them. What I’m trying to say here is that, if the telcos take away the charges, more people would be calling in, and ultimately, the charity gains.

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