Before you complete the registration application, you will need the answers to the following questions.
Does my organisation have the right ABN?
To register with the ACNC, your organisation must have an ABN with the correct legal name and entity type. This means your ABN must have:
- the same name as is in your organisation’s governing documents, and
- the correct ‘entity type’ for your organisation’s legal structure.
See the ABR website to apply for a new ABN or check the details of an existing ABN at ABN Lookup.
Is my organisation registered with ASIC or ORIC?
If your organisation is a company limited by guarantee, ‘registrable Australian body’ or Indigenous corporation, you will need to have its registration numbers (ACN, ARBN, ICN).
See our information on ASIC-registered charitable organisations and ORIC-registered corporations.
Is my organisation’s name suitable?
Your charity’s name on the ACNC Register will be the same name listed with its Australian Business Number (ABN) on the Australian Business Register (ABR), on your organisation’s governing documents (see below) and registered with other regulators (such as ASIC).
Find existing charity names on the ACNC Charity Register.
Find existing organisation names at ABN Lookup.
Check ASIC and ORIC’s naming rules and our ACNC Registration application guide for more information.
What is my organisation’s legal structure, and is it suitable?
Your organisation’s legal structure (also called its ‘entity type’) affects things such as its legal identity, governance structure and reporting or other compliance obligations. You may need to get legal advice when choosing your organisation’s legal structure.
ATO's guidance on different legal structures for not-for-profits
Not-for-profit Law's guidance on legal structure
ACNC Registration application guide
What are my organisation’s contact details?
You need to know and provide the ACNC with the following details of your organisation:
- an address for service (email and/or postal) – the registered office, for ASIC-registered organisations
- a business address, and
- a contact person and their contact details (for use after registration).
Is my organisation not-for-profit?
Only not-for-profit organisations can register as charities. A not-for-profit can make a profit but it does not operate for the profit, personal gain or other benefit of its members, board or committee, or their friends or relatives.
- Are your organisation’s money and assets used for its charitable work?
- Do any member benefits only come from your organisation’s charitable work?
- If your organisation makes a profit, is it directed towards its charitable work?
See our guidance on what is not-for-profit at acnc.gov.au/notforprofit.
Does my organisation have suitable governing documents?
A charity’s governing documents are the formal documents that set out:
- the charity’s charitable purpose
- the charity’s not-for-profit character, and
- the way the charity is governed, operates and makes decisions.
Your organisation’s governing documents may be called its rules or articles of association (incorporated associations) constitution (co-operatives and ASIC companies limited by guarantee) or rule book (ORIC Indigenous corporations). You will need to upload these as part of the online application.
See our guidance on governing documents.
You can also access template governing documents for incorporated associations, companies limited by guarantee, Indigenous corporations and unincorporated associations.
Does my organisation have a charitable purpose? What is it?
To be registered as a charity with the ACNC, your organisation must only have charitable purposes for the public benefit. This has a particular legal meaning under the Charities Act 2013 (Cth). You need to identify which charitable purpose or purposes your organisation has.
See our guidance on charitable purposes and examples of charitable purposes.
Where does my charity operate?
You need to provide information about where your organisation operates (or plans to operate): is it in just one state or territory, or across borders? Does it organisation conduct (or plan to conduct) activities overseas or provide funding to another organisation operating overseas? If it does, you need to provide information about what percentage of your total activities are conducted overseas.
Read more about overseas aid and development charities.
Who is on my organisation’s board or committee?
Responsible persons (also called responsible entities) are the people who govern a charity. You need to know these people’s names, dates of birth, contact details and positions within the organisation.
You need to check that they are suitable people, by checking the ASIC and ACNC Registers for disqualified persons.
See our guidance on responsible persons and on governance standard 4: suitability of responsible persons.
What financial information can my organisation provide?
You need to provide details of your income and expenditure for the past two years (where your organisation gets its funds and how it spends its money). This helps the ACNC understand how you are working towards your charitable purpose. You also need to tell us your reporting period (also called your financial year).
See our guidance on record-keeping and reporting to the ACNC.
Can my organisation claim tax concessions or DGR status?
A charity that is registered with the ACNC can then apply to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for Commonwealth charity tax concessions including income tax exemptions, refunds on franking credits, goods and services tax (GST) concessions and fringe benefits tax (FBT) rebates. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) also decides whether to endorse a charity as a deductible gift recipient (DGR).
If you are requesting registration as a public benevolent institution (PBI) or health promotion charity (HPC), or other DGR endorsement, you will need to understand the ATO requirements, and attach any applicable schedules to your registration application.
Read our guidance:
See the ATO’s guidance on tax concessions for not-for-profit organisations and DGRs.