Regulation of charities in Western Australia

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 WA tax concessions or other benefits, or to fundraise in WA.

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 WA 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 WA are incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 2014 .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 WA by Consumer Protection.
To find out more, visit the Consumer Protection website or call 1300 304 054.

Cooperatives

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 also regulated by Consumer Protection.
To find out more, visit the Consumer Protection website or call 1300 304 054.

Other legal structures

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

Fundraising

Fundraising in WA is regulated by two government agencies.

Consumer Protection is responsible for registering and regulating organisations conducting  fundraising activities under the Charitable Collections Act 1946. To find out more, visit the WA Consumer Protection website or call 1300 304 054.

The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries is responsible for regulating any fundraising conducted through authorised games, such as raffles. To find out more, visit the Department’s website or call 08 6551 4888.

For more information about fundraising, see Fundraising in WA.

State taxes

Charities that operate in WA 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.

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 WA on the website of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.

Other general obligations

There are a number of other laws that affect charities in WA covering areas such as employment, trading, occupational health and safety and anti-discrimination. For example, charities are obliged to meet obligations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 2984.

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 WA, not a complete guide. For more information about laws and regulations in the WA, please consult the relevant regulatory agencies.

Contact the ACNC

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


 

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