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What does the ACNC mean for my group?
The ACNC affects your group if it is, or is hoping to become, a charity. If your group accesses federal charitable tax concessions (like income tax exemptions) it will be automatically registered with the ACNC as a charity.
You can check if your organisation is registered as a charity here.
The ACNC affects charities incorporated under state-based regimes (for example incorporated as an incorporated association) and federal regimes (for example incorporated as a company limited by guarantee) differently.
What if our group is an incorporated association and is registered with the ACNC?
If your group is incorporated as an association under a state regime, and is a charity, it will be registered both with the relevant state regulator (such as Consumer Affairs Victoria) and with the ACNC.
Your group must still report to state regulator as per usual (if required), and will also need to report to the ACNC. This means that you will still need to comply with the relevant state laws, and your obligations as a registered charity (discussed further below).
What if our group is a company (eg. CLG) and a charity?
If your group is incorporated as a company*, for example as a company limited by guarantee, and you are a charity registered with the ACNC, a transitional program applies to your group.
Most changes came into effect on 1 July 2013, including the 'turning off' of many obligations CLGs that are registered charities used to have under federal law such as the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), and the 'turning on' of requirements administered by the ACNC.
See the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) website for a table summarising who charitable companies should contact for their reporting obligations.
*Note the above does not apply to Indigenous Corporations that report to ORIC.
What do charities registered with the ACNC have to do?
The fact sheet below describes the reporting requirements for charities. These apply to charities across Australia. The requirements may be in addition to other reporting requirements, in particular for charities that are incorporated associations, that need to report to their state regulator and to the ACNC.
Charities that are registered with the ACNC will have to submit
- an Annual Information Statement (AIS), and
- depending on their size, may have to also submit an annual financial report.
Financial reporting commenced for the 2013-2014 reporting period.
There is detailed information on charity reporting outlined in the fact sheet below regarding:
- the financial reporting required by charities under the ACNC Act, and
- the provisions of the Corporations Act that charities may have to comply with if the ACNC Act is repealed.
What else does the ACNC mean for my charity?
Be listed on a public information portal
The ACNC maintains a public register of charities. As the register develops, key details of registered charities will be publicly available (eg, governance structures, purposes, activities, contact details, annual reporting information).
The register is intended to provide transparency around the activities of charities. It will help registered charities explain what they do and it will assist donors, funders and the general public to find out about charities and how they operate.
Comply with governance standards
Registered charities will have to comply with a set of governance standards. The governance standards are similar to duties that applied to charities under the old regime. There are, however, a few key differences. See the ACNC website for a description of the governance standards.
- some regulation of existing charities (endorsed by the ATO) has moved to the ACNC - the ACNC has sent letters to registered charities (if your organisation has not received any communication from the ACNC and you think you should be registered, contact the ACNC)
- some ACNC reporting and compliance obligations for registered charities started in December 2012
- financial reporting and governance requirements for registered charities came into effect on July 2013
- the new statutory definition of charity came into effect on 1 January 2014.
The ACNC has helpful information on its website, including information on:
- timeline of what charities need to do
- transitional arrangements from Australian Taxation Office to ACNC
- ongoing obligations for charities
- registering as a charity
- tools and resources for charities
- Annual Information Statement Guide
- governance standards, and
- obligations to other regulators.
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