Commissioner’s Column – 22 February 2017

Susan Pascoe, Our Commissioner

It’s a pleasure to be back in the office after a short holiday – my thanks to my colleagues Murray Baird and David Locke for their leadership over recent weeks.

It has now been more than three weeks since the majority of registered charities operating on a standard reporting period (from 1 July to 30 June) were required to submit their 2016 Annual Information Statements.

Over 25,000, or 86%, of registered charities have already submitted their 2016 Annual Information Statement.  Well done to those who submitted early or on time.

For those charities that are overdue and have not yet submitted, I urge you to do so as soon as possible to avoid penalties. 

Intention to revoke ‘double defaulter’ charities

Next week, we will be issuing notices of intention to revoke a large group of charities that have failed to submit two Annual Information Statements. We refer to this group as ‘double defaulters’.

These charities are failing to meet the reporting obligations of the ACNC and are displaying persistent non-compliance, which is grounds for the revocation of charity status. Revocation of charity status will be displayed on the register, and means the charity is no longer able to access

Commonwealth charity tax concessions.

More information about double defaulters is available on the ACNC website at acnc.gov.au/doubledefaulters

Final warnings for penalties

Subdivision 175-C of the ACNC Act gives the ACNC the power to issue financial penalties to registered charities. Since the ACNC was established in December 2012, we have used this power sparingly.

Last week we issued penalty warning notices to several large charities (with revenue of $1 million or more) who have failed to submit their 2015 Annual Information Statements. Unfortunately, some of these charities are now 12 months overdue in their reporting requirements.

Each charity has been contacted multiple times prior to the issuing of a penalty warning, yet they have still failed to submit their 2015 Annual Information Statements.

Further penalty notices may be issued to other charities that refuse to submit their Annual Information Statement and annual financial reports.

We will continue to be fair, yet firm, when it comes to charities that fail to meet their obligations.

2015 Australian Charities Report sector events

On a brighter note, I’d like to acknowledge the many charities that joined us across the capital cities of Australia, to launch the Australian Charities Report 2015.

This research, the third report of its kind, provides invaluable insight into the impact of the charity sector in Australia. It has been a pleasure to share key findings from the report in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

If you weren’t able to attend one of our events, we are hosting a free webinar with our colleagues from the University of New South Wales’ Centre for Social Impact on Tuesday 21 April. Register now at acnc.gov.au/webinars.

The full report and interactive datacube is available online now at australiancharities.acnc.gov.au.

Guidance and resources available on the ACNC website

We have just released two new screencasts for charities to assist with key functions of the ACNC’s Charity Portal.

Our new step-by-step videos walk you through the process of changing a responsible person for your charity, or changing your charity’s sub-type.

This is a timely reminder for charities to ensure that both their responsible person details and sub-type information is up to date.

We have also recently published a range of information on the different obligations a charity will have to state and territory regulators in their region. Learn more:

You can access this information, along with a range of general advice on working with fundraising agencies, fundraising with people in vulnerable circumstances and more at acnc.gov.au/fundraising.

Seeking NSCOA feedback

The ACNC is inviting charities and other not-for-profit organisations to participate in research on the use of the National Standard Chart of Accounts (NSCOA) – a free accounting tool administered by the ACNC for use by not-for-profit organisations.

The survey only takes around five minutes to complete and responses will help guide ongoing development of the NSCOA and other resources for the sector by the ACNC.

Submissions close on Tuesday 28 February. For more information or to complete the survey, visit acnc.gov.au/NSCOA.

Good wishes
Susan Pascoe AM

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