Ministerial meetings, mailouts and videos
26 November 2013

The Commissioner's Column


Susan Pascoe, Our Commissioner

Since writing my last Column, I have met with both the Assistant Treasurer, Senator Arthur Sinodinos AO, and the Minister for Social Services, Hon Kevin Andrews MP. These meetings provided an opportunity to discuss the Government’s pre- election commitments, the work of the ACNC and ongoing plans for the future.

While the Assistant Treasurer has portfolio responsibility for the ACNC Act, the Minister for Social Services has policy leadership for the NFP sector. The Ministers and their respective office staff are working together.

During Senate Estimates last week the Assistant Treasurer advised that the Minister for Social Services intends to conduct formal consultation with the NFP sector on how the Government’s election commitments would be implemented prior to finalising the Government’s NFP plans.

Education and Guidance – videos now available

In supporting charities to understand their obligations to the ACNC, we are constantly looking for accessible, innovative yet easy to understand ways to communicate with the sector.

Launched last week, were four new short videos to help charities in understanding their obligations. We hope you will find these videos useful and engaging to watch. They are based on content from the ACNC Basics education sessions (held earlier this year) and focus on:

  • maintaining registration
  • notifying of changes
  • record keeping and reporting
  • the Register.

Need more time to complete your 2013 Annual Information Statement?

For charities with a 1 July to 30 June financial reporting period, the date for submission of the 2013 Annual Information Statement has been extended up until 31 March 2014.

This approach takes into account that this is the first time many charities have needed to report to the ACNC, that there may be some charities who are not aware of their obligations and, that the ACNC Act does not allow me to delay the issuing of administrative penalties for late lodgement.

I encourage charities to still meet the 31 December 2013 deadline for their 2013 Annual Information Statement if at all possible, as the information provided will be used to populate the 2014 Annual Information Statement and provide the community with up-to-date details on your charity.

Is your charity affected by the 2 December deadline?

In previous columns I mentioned some transitional arrangements that will end next week on 2 December. These transitional arrangements refer specifically to some:

  • religious charities that are automatically registered with the ACNC
  • religious charities that are not yet registered with the ACNC
  • deductible gift recipients.
Automatically registered religious charities

Charities advancing religion which were automatically registered with the ACNC on 3 December 2012 need to confirm their charitable purpose with us by 2 December 2013. This will allow us to register the charity under the correct 'subtype' (a charity for the purpose of advancing religion). Being registered as the correct ‘subtype’ means your charity to can continue to receive additional charity tax benefits associated with being a registered religious institution. If your religious charity is not listed with the ‘subtype’ of advancing religious on the ACNC Register, please contact us.

Religious charities not yet registered with us

Some religious organisations previously self-assessed as religious institutions to be recognised as income tax exempt. These organisations were not automatically registered with the ACNC on 3 December 2012 and must opt-in to register with the ACNC by 2 December to continue to be eligible for tax concessions associated with its status as a religious institution.

Read more guidance for self-assessing religious institutions.

Deductible gift recipients

Some charities may be recognised by the Australian Taxation Office as deductible gift recipients (DGRs) but have not been endorsed as charities.

If your charity is a DGR, check the ACNC Register to see if it was automatically registered with us on 3 December 2012. If it was not registered, you may need to apply to register with us so you can continue to be eligible to receive tax deductible donations for DGR status under tax law. You can review whether your DGR is required to register with the ACNC on the ATO’s DGR table. Please contact the ATO to find out more.

Memorandum of Understanding with Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency

The ACNC and the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency signed a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday 13 November which sets out a framework for cooperation between the ACNC and TEQSA. The MoU facilitates liaison, cooperation, assistance and the exchange of information and materials to improve outcomes for both organisations and, to reduce red tape for charities

An ACNC mailing

In early December, the ACNC will be contacting registered charities with information on the ACNC Charity Portal (including a quick guide to using the Portal) and as a reminder to complete the 2013 Annual Information Statement.

Keep an eye out for this correspondence – it will arrive either via email if you have already provided the ACNC with an email address, or through Australia Post for those charities where we do not have an email address.

We would like to remind charities that when providing the ACNC with an email address as the address for service, we encourage you to use a generic email address e.g info@charity.org.au instead of a personal email address. This protects your privacy and means that even if your key contact leaves, we can still contact your charity.

Remember that you can update your email address through the Charity Portal using your user name and password.

ACNC Portal

Since the Portal was launched on Wednesday 6 November there have been more than 5,000 visits. T he top three tasks being completed have been submission of the 2013 Annual Information Statement, viewing and changing responsible persons and changing the legal name or governing documents.

Access the Charity Portal at https://charity.acnc.gov.au.

2013 Annual Information Statements

Submissions of 2013 Annual Information Statements continue to increase with 5,720 submitted and 3,766 underway.

The introduction of bulk lodgement reporting is proving beneficial to those charities with complex structures such as corporate trustees administering multiple trusts, or the denomination administration offices that look after a number of religious charities.

Contact has been made with more than 75 organisations with five bulk lodgements already received covering 195 entities.

Change to opening hours of ACNC Advice line

As of Monday 11 November, the ACNC Advice line opens from 9.00am through to 6.00pm (AESDST) Monday through to Friday. If you need to speak with us outside these hours you can use the email call back booking service and nominate a day and time (between 8.00am and 7.00pm) Monday to Friday for an ACNC representative to contact you.

ACNC Annual Report 2012–13

A reminder that the ACNC Annual Report is now available and you can read the full report on the ACNC website or download and print the PDF report.

Contact us

Our phone number is 13 ACNC (13 22 62) or you can email us at advice@acnc.gov.au.

Remember to also stay in touch via our social media accounts:

Good wishes
Susan Pascoe AM
Commissioner
Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

 


Return to all Commissioner's Columns