In this edition of the Communities and Associations Newsletter, we provide details on various COVID-19 related measures extended to Charities and Not-for-profit entities during the pandemic:
- AGM Compliance concessions
- Governance Compliance concessions
- Government financial assistance to Charities and Not-for-profits
- Fundraising compliance obligations and the Fair Trading Regulatory Impact Statement
- 'Good News' from the Sector during unprecedented times
We trust you will enjoy the read.
ASIC: Extension for lodging financial reports
On 9 April 2020, ASIC announced that the deadline for unlisted entities to lodge financial reports under Chapters 2M and 7 of the Corporations Act 2001 has been extended by one month. This extension is available for entities with balance dates from 31 December 2019 to 31 March 2020, provided that as of 9 April 2020 the reporting deadline had not already passed.
ACNC: Extension for submitting AIS
The ACNC has recognised that many charities are experiencing difficulties with submitting their 2019 Annual Information Statements and Annual Information Report (if required), as a result of workplace disruptions due to COVID-19.
Annual General Meetings
The current lockdown has made it impossible for many charities to hold their Annual General Meeting (AGM) in person. An entity should check whether its constitution or other governing document allows for the AGM to be held using electronic means, or whether the constitution can be easily amended to allow for this.
ACNC: Governance Standard 2
The ACNC has been reminding registered charities that they must continue to satisfy governance standard 2: Accountability to members. Charities that have members must take reasonable steps to be accountable to their members and provide them with adequate opportunity to raise concerns about how the charity is governed.
ACNC: Relief from Compliance Obligations
While charities are encouraged to continue to meet the governance standards as much as possible, the ACNC Commissioner has acknowledged that not-for-profit entities are facing unique challenges due to COVID-19.
Not-for profit entities that are not ineligible entities that pursued their objectives principally in Australia (on 1 March 2020), and also meet the turnover tests, are able to enroll in the JobKeeper payment scheme. Enrolment for the scheme has now been extended until 31 May 2020.
Cash Flow Boost
In addition to the JobKeeper scheme, the state and federal governments have announced special measures to assist with short term cash flow issues, to help keep businesses (including charities) operating and to pay employees' salaries.
NSW Fair trading: fundraising requirements and compliance during COVID-19
Charities operating in NSW must hold an authority to fundraise and are expected to comply with relevant legislative requirements in regards to fundraising. While it is expected that some authority holders will be impacted by COVID-19, entities are still expected to do their best to comply with obligations under the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991 (NSW) ('the Act') wherever possible.
It is hard to write about any "good news" emanating from the COVID-19 situation; however, it is heartening to see how charities and governments have risen to the challenge.
In particular, we have seen:
- Charities, especially those offering counselling services, adapting their service delivery method, and persisting with supporting people, especially as the numbers of persons needing support has expanded quickly
- Religious organisations, including dioceses and parishes, adapting their service delivery to online vehicles, and preparing much material for the viewing and sharing of the faithful, and others, while at home
- Government at all levels taking prompt and relevant decisions to fund support at great expense, to minimise economic pain wherever a need is observed
- Heroic service delivery by health care workers, especially those in aged care, supporting and nursing very ill people through grave illness, and sadly, in some cases, being there for them in their dying
- Enduring hope nurtured by all, carrying on as best can be managed within the constraints.
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.