Charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) are required to submit an Annual Information Statement (AIS) each year.
To make AIS reporting easier for organisations such as a corporate trustee administrating multiple trusts, or an administrative office for multiple religious charities, the ACNC released form 4C Annual Information Statement – Bulk Lodgement yesterday.
What is Bulk Lodgement?
Bulk lodgement allows multiple registered charities to consolidate all of their AIS reports onto a single form. The single excel spreadsheet requires the same information as a single registered charity would report for their AIS but provides for multiple "rows" so multiple registered charities can easily report in a single document.
A "responsible person" who is common to each of the registered charities may sign the declaration on behalf of each of the charities who are completing the bulk AIS.
In contrast to joint (or collective) reporting, you can complete the bulk lodgement form without having to request approval from the ACNC.
If registered charities would like to complete their AIS reporting via bulk lodgement, they should be aware of their reporting dates. This is important because not all charities will report in accordance with the financial year (i.e. having their first AIS due on 31 December 2013), and it is not possible to submit a single bulk lodgement form for multiple charities with multiple reporting dates.
How is Bulk Lodgement Different from Joint Reporting?
Joint reporting is when registered charities (as part of a group of registered charities) submit one AIS and one financial report (if applicable). This is different from bulk lodgement because the single bulk reporting excel spreadsheet contains a "row" for each registered charity which answers each question on the AIS separately from the other charities in the bulk lodgement (although it is possible to cut/copy/paste answers as appropriate).
In order to be eligible for joint (and collective) reporting it is necessary for registered charities to apply to the ACNC, and the ACNC website states "[f]or the 2013 reporting period, the ACNC is unlikely to approve joint and collective reporting except in limited circumstances". There is no need to apply to the ACNC for approval to submit an AIS via bulk lodgement.
When is the Annual Information Statement Due?
For charities who have a reporting year that falls in accordance with the financial year i.e. 30 June, their first AIS will be due by 31 December 2013. For charities who report in accordance with the calendar year (and have notified the ACNC that this is the case), their first AIS will be due by 30 June 2014.
If your registered charity is eligible for bulk lodgement it can proceed to prepare and lodge the spreadsheet in accordance with the relevant reporting deadline.
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.