On 23 August, 2013, just prior to the federal election, Kevin
Andrews, Opposition spokesman on Families, Housing and Human
Services engaged in a National Press Club Forum with Doug Cameron
(ALP) and Rachel Siewart (Greens).
Although Kevin Andrews, now Minister for Social Services, is not
the new ACNC Minister, (that role falling to the new Assistant
Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos), it is timely to review the
Andrews' remarks from the forum as we anticipate how the
Liberal Coalition Government will use ACNC.
Mr Andrews was promising:
overall reduction in red tape
reintroduction of community based partnerships where prominent
Australians from business and community will work to advise
government and encourage a culture of giving
replacement of ACNC with a Centre for Excellence, a charitable,
or not for profit entity itself
that the Centre would not focus on compliance and
that the Centre would focus on innovation, education and best
practice, advise government and undertake research
that the ATO would be split to carry out its regulatory (or
policing) function, separately from its other functions.
These remarks reflect earlier comments made by Mr Andrews which
can be summarised as:
1 the return of regulatory control to the ATO and ASIC;
2 the retention of the ACNC register as a source of
3 the use of ACNC staff to offer education, training and
information services to charities as well as members of the
While we wait for any changes which the new government will
make, the ACNC Commissioner, Susan Pascoe, in a recent monthly
update, spoke firmly to dispel any uncertainty as to whether or not
the Commission was still functioning.
She reminded charities that 31 December 2013 is a critical date
by which all registered charities must have their annual
information statements lodged with the Commission unless their
reporting period did not end on 30 June 2013. For charities
operating with a 31 December end of year, the first annual
information statement will not be required until 30 June 2014.
Another critical date for charities claiming the sole charitable
purpose of the "advancement of religion" is 3 December
2013, by which date they should be registered with ACNC to retain
existing tax concessions.
If ACNC remains as it has been set up, charities which operate
as companies, would deal mostly with ACNC, but, would retain a
relationship with ASIC, as explained below:
for applications to incorporate, approach ASIC;
for notifications of change to constitution, approach
for notification of change of responsible persons (members of
the Board) approach ACNC;
for notification of insolvency or wind up or external
administration, approach ASIC.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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