Commissioner’s Column – 6 September 2018

As we prepare for the ACNC’s new and improved IT system in the next few weeks, I ask all charities to take two simple steps to ensure they are well-placed for the upcoming changes.

Step 1: Check your charity’s Address for Service

We will be issuing instructions for logging in to the new ACNC website to the registered email Address for Service to every charity in the weeks after launch.

It is important that you check your charity’s contact information and ensure it is up-to-date. If you are unsure of your charity’s Address for Service email, it is listed on the ACNC Charity Register at acnc.gov.au/findacharity. If the information is not correct or missing, update it before Thursday 20 September by logging in to the current ACNC Charity Portal.

Step 2: Finalise and submit any in-progress forms

Any forms in the current ACNC Charity Portal that are listed as ‘in progress’ will be lost after the new system goes live. If you have any unfinished forms, including Annual Information Statements, change of details notifications or registration applications, these must be submitted before Thursday 20 September.

You can check if your charity has any remaining forms or requests that require action by logging in to the ACNC Charity Portal.

I also note that some charities may be waiting to submit their 2018 Annual Information Statement. This will be available in October 2018, after the launch of the new website.

We look forward to sharing the many benefits of the ACNC’s upgraded IT systems in the coming weeks and months.

Give safely and with confidence to Australian charities

Unfortunately, last week we saw a great deal of media coverage about someone taking advantage of the generosity of Australians through social media. Using the recent death of a prominent Australian a person or persons posed as an associate of a charity to request financial donations.

I was appalled by this incredibly low act, and it is disappointing that someone would choose to scam good-natured people for their own personal gain. Unfortunately, well-known charities can be targets for scammers – creating fake sites and fraudulent campaigns to generate donations.

I encourage all donors to protect themselves, and ensure they are giving to a legitimate charity.

If you are looking to donate, I urge you to avoid clicking suspicious links or providing financial information over messaging services – it is best to visit a charity’s website to ensure your donation is made safely and securely, without risk to your personal information.

If you are suspicious of a request or think there is something wrong, I would recommend contacting the charity directly via the information on the Charity Register and alerting them to your concerns. Alternatively, if you believe you have seen or fallen victim to a scam, you can report this to The ACCC Scamwatch at scamwatch.gov.au.

Charity revoked after ACNC compliance action

The ACNC has recently taken compliance action against a charity, revoking the charity status of Lieu Quan Buddhist Association Incorporated (ABN: 95933045840).

The organisation was endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office to access the following Commonwealth charity tax concessions:

  • Goods and Services Tax (GST) concession
  • Income tax exemption, and
  • Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) rebate.

This charity has now lost access to these Commonwealth charity tax concessions.

We are prevented from disclosing further details due to secrecy provisions in the ACNC Act. However, we publish instances where we use our formal powers, including revocation, on the ACNC Charity Register and at acnc.gov.au/compliancedecisions.

Every month we receive around 100 concerns about charities, many of which are submitted to us by members of the public. If you have concerns about a registered charity, you can raise them formally by visiting acnc.gov.au/charityconcern, or by calling 13 ACNC (13 22 62).

Treasury portfolio arrangements confirmed

Earlier this week, the Federal Treasurer, the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, confirmed that the Assistant to the Minister for Treasury and Finance, Senator the Hon Zed Seselja, will have responsibility for the not-for-profit sector – including the ACNC.

On behalf of the ACNC, I would like to congratulate the Honourable Senator on his appointment, and we look forward to working together in the near future.

You can read the full announcement from Treasury on their website.

Stay in touch

Sign up for email alerts at acnc.gov.au/signup.

Contact our Advice Services team on 13 ACNC (13 22 62) or by email at advice@acnc.gov.au.

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