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 registered;
- Check that the correct registration sub-type has been applied;
- Confirm whether basic religious charity status should be applied;
- 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; and
- 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 ACNC?
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.