Why register

Charities must register with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) before they can receive charity tax concessions from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). If you decide to also apply for tax concessions, you can do this within one form – the ACNC registration application form. Your application for tax concessions will be sent to the ATO, who will decide your organisation's eligibility for tax concessions.

Benefits of registration

Benefits of registering include being able to:

For some types of charities there are additional benefits that come from registering with the ACNC.

For recipients of Commonwealth grants, from 1 June 2013 your grant department cannot ask you to provide the same information you have provided to the ACNC. Also, if you provide an audited financial statement to the ACNC, then a financial acquittal should not be required, unless the granting activity is higher risk.

If your company limited by guarantee is registered with ASIC and also registered with the ACNC:

  • you no longer have to pay ASIC filing fees, including the annual review fee
  • reporting to the ACNC instead of ASIC (once ACNC financial reporting obligations start, from the 2013–2014 reporting period onwards) means more generous reporting size thresholds. The ACNC thresholds are based on revenue alone and disregard consideration of DGR status. For example, a charity with $245 000 in annual revenue and DGR status would be considered medium under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (and would need to have an audit or review), but would be considered small under the ACNC Act (and would not require an audit or review, as they are exempt from providing financial reports)
  • charities registered with the ACNC are not required to prepare a directors’ report. This may reduce the cost of an audit of a charity, as the auditor is no longer required to review the directors’ report to check for inconsistencies with the audited financial report.

Future benefits

The ACNC is working with a range of government agencies and stakeholders on the major task of reducing red tape for charities over time, including by aligning regulatory requirements through working closely with other Commonwealth and state and territory departments and agencies.

The Government of South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory Government have both announced they will move to reduce regulatory duplication in their incorporated associations and charitable collections legislation. Read more about red tape reduction.

As well as regulating charities, promoting good governance and compliance, the ACNC is gathering a large amount of data about the nature and activities of charities. This will not only be available on the ACNC Register to raise transparency and accountability, it will also feed into research and policy development in the not-for-profit sector.

What about deductible gift recipient (DGR) status?

Some categories of deductible gift recipient (DGR) status are only available to registered charities. If your organisation is a charity that wants to apply for DGR status, you will need to be registered with the ACNC first. If your charity is already a DGR, check the ACNC Register to see if it has automatically been registered with us.

Find out more by reading the ATO's guidance on DGR in its GiftPack.

If you want to register, first work out if your organisation can register. You can apply to register as a charity with us and apply for deductible gift recipient (DGR) status with the ATO at the same time.