Regulation of charities in New South Wales

Charities registered with the ACNC have ongoing obligations under the ACNC Act. A charity may also have obligations to other Commonwealth, state or local government agencies.

Obligations to the ACNC

If a charity is registered with the ACNC, it has ongoing obligations to maintain registration, including to:

Obligations to other government agencies

A charity may have obligations to and receive benefits from other Commonwealth, state or local government agencies in addition to the ACNC. These may include obligations or benefits related to:

  • its legal structure (for example, as an incorporated association)
  • how it raises money (for example, if it runs raffles or street collections)
  • the exemptions, concessions or other benefits it may receive from government (for example, certain Commonwealth, state and local government taxes) and
  • what it does (which may apply to specific sectors such as aged care, housing, childcare and education).

Some charities also choose to meet voluntary standards set by professional associations or peak bodies such as codes of conduct or codes of ethical practice.

Charities do not have to be registered with the ACNC to be an incorporated association, cooperative or other legal structure, to access NSW tax concessions or other benefits, or to fundraise in NSW.

Legal structures

There are several types of legal structures used by charities. Different obligations apply to each type. A charity's legal structure may affect:

  • its reporting and governance requirements to the government agency that incorporated it
  • its ability to operate outside NSW without further registration
  • its eligibility for certain tax concessions.

The types listed here are examples of the most common legal structures, but there are others (such as trusts and unincorporated associations).

Incorporated associations

Some charities in NSW are incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 2009. These are called 'incorporated associations' and have 'Inc.' or 'Incorporated' at the end of their name.

Incorporated associations have a number of responsibilities such as keeping appropriate financial records, following their rules and holding annual general meetings. These responsibilities are regulated in NSW by Fair Trading.

To find out more, visit the NSW Fair Trading website, or call 13 32 20.


A cooperative is a type of organisation that is owned, controlled and used by its members. There are different types of cooperatives.

Charities that are cooperatives are regulated by NSW Fair Trading.

To find out more, visit the NSW Fair Trading website or call 13 32 20.

Other legal structures

Information about reporting and other obligations for charities set up with other legal structures is available on these pages:


Fundraising in NSW is regulated by two government agencies.
NSW Fair Trading is responsible for registering and regulating organisations conduct fundraising activities. To find out more, visit the NSW Fair Trading website or call 13 32 20.

Liquor and Gaming NSW is responsible for regulating any fundraising conducted through authorised games, such as raffles. To find out more, visit the Liquor and Gaming NSW website or call 1300 024 720.

For more information about fundraising, see Fundraising in NSW.

State taxes

Charities that operate in NSW may also be eligible to receive concessions on some state taxes, including payroll tax, land tax and stamp duty from the Office of State Revenue.

To find out more, visit the State Revenue Office website or call 02 9689 6200.

Local government

Some local government authorities may offer concessions to charities. For more information, contact the local government authority in the areas where the charity operates.

You can search a directory of local government authorities in NSW on the website of Local Government NSW.

Other general obligations

There are a number of other laws that affect charities in NSW covering areas such as employment, trading, occupational health and safety and anti-discrimination. For example, charities are obliged to meet obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

Some charities may have responsibilities that are specific to their area of work. For example, charities that provide aged care services may need to meet other obligations or hold accreditations as part of working in this field.

Related information

A list of other regulators, including contact details, that may affect charities.

Attention - Important information! Please note: this fact sheet is an overview of laws and regulations affecting charities in NSW, not a complete guide. For more information about laws and regulations in the NSW, please consult the relevant regulatory agencies.

Contact the ACNC

Phone: 13 ACNC (13 22 62)
Mail: Advice Services, Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, GPO Box 5108, Melbourne VIC 3001
Fax: 1300 232 569


Return to all Factsheets