Summary - The Australian Charities and
Not-For-Profits Commission (ACNC) legislation has
received royal assent and the ACNC has commenced operation.
Today the Governor General assented to the Australian Charities
and Not-For-Profits Commission Act 2012 and the Australian
Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission (Consequential and
Transitional) Act 2012 (ACNC Acts).
Who is regulated by the legislation?
Although the title of the legislation extends to charities
and Not-For-Profits, at this stage the ACNC Acts
only cover "charities", with the possibility for
Not-For-Profits (who are not charities) being regulated under the
ACNC Acts at a later stage.
What is a charity?
Until a statutory definition of charity has been finalised (with
a briefing paper expected early in 2013 and the definition likely
to take effect on 1 July 2013) a "charity" will be
understood to encompass organisations for: the relief of poverty,
advancement of education, advancement of religion and other
purposes beneficial to the community (including childcare,
self-help and contemplative orders). In other words, the existing
common law interpretation of what constitutes a charity will
continue to apply until 1 July 2013.
What action should my charity take?
If you would like to be registered under the ACNC then we
recommend that you:
Check that your organisation has been automatically
Check that the correct registration sub-type has been
Confirm whether basic religious charity status should be
Apply for a substituted accounting period (if you do not wish
to report in accordance with the financial year);
Apply for registration, if your organisation has been self
assessing (e.g. religious institutions);
Familiarise yourself with your new obligations such as the duty
to notify the ACNC of changes and the new obligations on directors;
Check your operational and financial records are in order as
these may be checked at any time
What if I don't want my charity to be regulated by the
Registration with the ACNC is voluntary. If your charity has
been automatically registered you have 6 months to opt-out.
However, registration will be a necessary prerequisite for
charities to access Commonwealth tax concessions and other
concessions, exemptions and benefits.
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