The following provides a brief summary of the key aspects of
Australia's latest regulator – The Australian Charities
and Not-forprofits Commission (ACNC):
It commenced operations on 3 December 2012.
Despite its name, at this stage the ACNC regulates charities
only. At most recent count around 57,700 charities are regulated
with approximately 250 being registered since its
The objects of the ACNC are to:
Maintain, protect and enhance public trust and confidence in
Support and sustain a robust, vibrant, independent and
innovative Australian not-for-profit sector; and
Reduce unnecessary "Red Tape".
It is responsible for determining charitable endorsement status,
with tax concessions compliance remaining with the ATO.
It effectively replaces ASIC for Charities which operate as a
company limited by guarantee.
It maintains a register covering key governance and financial
information for each registered charity and for which the majority
of information will be available to the public via the ACNC
All charities must maintain books and records that would enable
review by the ACNC Commissioner and the ATO.
There are financial reporting and audit requirements for many
charities with the first year of lodgement being in respect to the
year ending 30 June 2014 as outlined in our table below.
Registered Charitied - ACNC Reporting Requirments
$250,000 or less
$250,001 - $999,999
$1,000,000 or more
In an Australian first, there are now specific governance and
external conduct standards for all charities regardless of their
legal structure (excluding Basic Religious Charities eg.
Annual Information Statements for all charities, including
details on how Charities have achieved their objects and who has
benefitted will be required to be lodged with the ACNC.
The ACNC and the ATO have the regulatory ability to undertake
assessment of a charity's activities along with enforcement
powers. The ACNC considers itself as a light touch regulator.
We discuss whether certain clauses commonly found in ordinary commercial contracts could be considered to be penalties.
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