A common charity definition?

In accordance with the third object under the ACNC Act, to promote the reduction of unnecessary regulatory obligations on the not-for-profit sector, the ACNC has prepared a paper examining the opportunities for a common definition of ‘charity’ in all Australian jurisdictions.,

The paper was prepared for and presented at the 16th Annual States’ Taxation Conference hosted by the Tax Institute of Australia and held in Darwin in July 2016.

The paper surveys existing definitions in each jurisdiction and then proposes a model whereby the ACNC would make all charity determinations, whether for revenue or other purposes. It then goes on to assess the impact of this model on the Australian community, the charities themselves and relevant local, state, territory and federal government agencies engaged in charity regulation.

While a common definition will guide eligibility and access to the benefits that accrue to charities in recognition of their contribution to the public good, the revenue implications of a common definition pose an important policy and legal consideration for the states’ and territories’ Treasuries and revenue agencies. As such, the publishing of this paper is part of ongoing engagement and the ACNC welcomes feedback from States and Territory regulators, professional agencies and interested individuals.