On Monday 10 December 2012, the newly established Australian
Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) was officially
launched by the Assistant Treasurer, the Hon. David Bradbury MP.
This followed the legislation receiving Royal Assent on 3 December
2012 and the announcement on 7 December 2012 of the formal
appointment of Ms Susan Pascoe AM as the Inaugural Commissioner of
the ACNC. Since opening it has already registered its first new
In accepting the appointment Ms Pascoe noted that "I have
spent most of my career in the not-for-profit sector particularly
through my work with education organisations and I understand first
hand the challenges and the workloads placed on
It is positive to see an Inaugural Commissioner with such a deep
understanding and empathy for the sector. While there is clearly a
genuine commitment by the Commissioner and the ACNC's staff to
the achievement of the reduction of red tape for the sector, there
will be significant challenges ahead in implementing a report once,
use often framework. Given that this is one of the clear benefits
from these reforms it will be critical that the Commissioner is
kept accountable for the achieving this objective.
What does this means for charities?
From the establishment date of the Commission on 3 December
2012, income tax exempt charities previously endorsed by the ATO,
will be automatically registered entities with the ACNC meaning
that they have a new regulatory framework to address including in
the areas of:
Directors / trustees responsibilities
Financial reporting requirements;
The ACNC public register; and
Other information to be provided to the Commissioner.
We have also attached a
link to our summary of the implications for charities and other
not-for-profits concerning the broader reform framework of the
Federal Government covering:
Tax reform; and
The establishment of the ACNC is clearly the start of a new era
for charities which also sees the registration and regulation of
charities now being taken over by the ACNC from the previous
de-facto regulator, the ATO. Much more detail can be found on the
ACNC website www.acnc.gov.au
which is highly informative and where you can also check your
The ACNC has kicked off with an extremely active and readable
website and it is already seeking to address some of the key
administrative matters that arise from the legislation. For example
you can find on the website forms allowing you to notify changes of
the charity's details to the ACNC as well as an application
process for entities which require a substituted accounting period.
Much more information is also included so it is well worth a
There is much we do not yet know in relation to the impact of
the ACNC establishment as we are yet to see the draft regulations
which will contain most of the detailed practical implications.
These include the governance standards, financial reporting and
annual information statement requirements. As this information is
released by Government and the issues become clearer we will seek
to keep you informed of the key aspects.
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