Factsheet: Regulation of charities in Queensland

As a registered charity with the ACNC, you have ongoing obligations under the ACNC Act. Your charity may also have obligations to other Commonwealth, state or local government agencies.

Obligations to the ACNC

If your charity is registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), you have ongoing obligations to maintain your registration, including to:

Obligations to other government agencies

In addition to the ACNC, your charity may have obligations to and get benefits from other Commonwealth, state or local government agencies. Your organisation might have obligations or benefits related to:

  • its legal structure (for example, as an incorporated association)
  • how it raises money (for example, running raffles or street collections)
  • what it does (for example, specific sectors such as aged care, housing, childcare and education)
  • the exemptions, concessions or other benefits it may receive from government (for example, for certain Commonwealth, territory and local government taxes).

Some charities also choose to meet voluntary standards set by professional associations or peak bodies such as codes of conduct or codes of ethical practice.

This factsheet provides an overview of some common responsibilities that charities in Queensland may have. Your charity does not have to be registered with the ACNC to access Queensland tax or other benefits, to fundraise in Queensland or to be an incorporated association, cooperative or other legal structure.

Attention:You need to know! Community Door is a free online resource for Queensland's community services sector. The site has information to help organisations with their strategic development, including in the areas of governance, funding, reporting, financial management, quality assurance, and service delivery. It also has resources about the reform of the sector.

Taxation

There are a number of tax or other benefits that may be available to charities at the Commonwealth, state and local government levels. Charities must meet certain requirements to receive tax benefits from these government agencies.

Commonwealth taxes

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is responsible for deciding eligibility for Commonwealth charity tax benefits. Charities can apply to the ATO for a number of tax benefits including:

  • income tax exemption and franking credits
  • goods and services tax (GST) concessions
  • fringe benefits tax (FBT) rebates and exemptions
  • deductible gift recipient (DGR) status.

To find out more, visit the ATO's website.

State taxes

Charities that operate in Queensland may also be eligible to receive exemptions from payroll tax, land tax and stamp duty. These taxes are administered by the Office of State Revenue.

To find out more, visit the Office of State Revenue website or call 1300 300 734.

Local government

Some local government authorities may offer concessions to charities. For more information, contact the local government authority in the areas where you operate.

You can search a directory of local government authorities in Queensland on the website of the Department of Local Government.

Legal structures

There are several types of legal structures used by charities. Different obligations apply to each type. Your charity's legal structure affects many things, such as:

  • its reporting and governance requirements to the government agency that incorporated (registered) it
  • its ability to operate outside Queensland without further registration
  • its eligibility for certain tax concessions.

The types listed here are examples of the most common legal structures, but there are others (such as trusts and unincorporated associations).

Incorporated associations

Some charities in Queensland are incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 1981 (Qld). These are called 'incorporated associations' and have 'Inc.' or 'Incorporated' at the end of their name.

Incorporated associations have a number of responsibilities such as providing certified or audited financial statements and notifications of changes to the Office of Fair Trading.

To find out more, visit the Office of Fair Trading website or call 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

Companies

Charities that are incorporated as companies, registered Australian bodies and foreign companies are regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Charities are most commonly incorporated as companies limited by guarantee.

Companies regulated by ASIC have certain obligations including to provide annual statements and to notify ASIC of certain changes.

Registered charities that are incorporated as companies or registered with ASIC will have many of their notification and reporting obligations to ASIC replaced by obligations to the ACNC. Find out more about how the ACNC affects charities registered with ASIC.

To find out more, visit the ASIC website or call 1300 300 630.

Indigenous corporations

Charities that are registered as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations are regulated by the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations are a particular type of corporation registered according to the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth)(CATSI Act). These corporations are controlled by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The ACNC and ORIC are working together to try to reduce the number of times organisations have to report. For example, annual reports lodged with ORIC will satisfy your corporation’s Annual Information Statement (AIS) and financial reporting obligations to the ACNC until at least 2014–15 so that your organisation will only need to report once. Find out more about how the ACNC affects organisations registered with ORIC.

To find out more, visit the ORIC website or call 1800 662 431.

Cooperatives

Charities that are cooperatives are regulated by the Office of Fair Trading.

A cooperative is a type of organisation that is owned, controlled and used by its members. There are different kinds of cooperatives.

To find out more, visit the Office of Fair Trading website or call 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

Fundraising

Fundraising by charities in Queensland is regulated by two government agencies.

The Office of Fair Trading is responsible for registering and regulating organisations undertaking fundraising. To find out more, visit the Office of Fair Trading website or call 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

The Office of Liquor Gaming Regulation is responsible for regulating any fundraising conducted through raffles or gaming activities. To find out more, visit the Office of Liquor Gaming Regulation website or call (07) 3872 0999.

Other general obligations

There are a number of other laws that affect the operation of charities in Queensland covering areas such as employment, trading, occupational health and safety and anti-discrimination. For example, charities are obliged to meet obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld).

Some charities may have responsibilities that are specific to their area of work. For example, charities that provide aged care services may need to meet other obligations or hold accreditations as part of working in this field, and charities that work with young people may require their staff and volunteers to have a Working With Children Check (a 'blue card').

Related information

More information about other regulators including contact details is available on our website.

Contact the ACNC

Phone: 13 ACNC (13 22 62)
Email: advice@acnc.gov.au
Mail: Advice Services, Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, GPO Box 5108, Melbourne VIC 3001
Fax: 1300 232 569


 

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