ACNC Interpretation Statements

As the ACNC develops our approach to the legal meaning of charity, we will produce guidance through ‘ACNC Commissioner’s Interpretation Statements’. These statements help to guide charities and the public on how we understand the law that applies to charities, including to explain the law made by judges ('common law'), parliament (legislation) and any legal issues that may arise.

Please note that more Interpretation Statements will be developed progressively as we develop our approach, make more registration decisions, and after the Charities Act starts from 1 January 2014.

The status of ACNC Commissioner’s Interpretation Statements

These statements reflect our current understanding of the law on charity and are binding on ACNC staff. While we do not have the power to produce binding rulings in the same way as the ATO’s tax rulings, we will ensure that organisations that rely on the Interpretation Statements are treated fairly, consistent with our objects and regulatory approach. If the law or an Interpretation Statement changes, we will apply the new position from the date of the change, not retrospectively in a way that could disadvantage your charity. In most cases, we will also allow a period of time for charities to respond to any change.

Statements

Commissioner's Interpretation Statement - Health Promotion Charities (29/03/2017)
The purpose of this Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement is to provide guidance to ACNC staff, charities and the public on the meaning and scope of the charity subtype of ‘health promotion charity’ (HPC).

Commissioner's Interpretation Statement: Public Benevolent Institutions (26/12/2016)
The purpose of this Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement is to provide guidance on the ACNC’s view on the meaning and scope of the charity subtype of ‘public benevolent institution’ (PBI) for ACNC purposes.

Commissioner's Interpretation Statement - Meaning of Government Entity (22/02/2016)
The purpose of this Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement is to provide guidance on the on the meaning of ‘government entity’ in the Charities Act 2013 (Cth) (the Charities Act). Government entities cannot be registered as charities.

Commissioner's Interpretation Statement - Commercially Sensitive Information (11/01/2016)
The purpose of this Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement is to provide guidance on the ACNC’s approach to withholding or removing commercially sensitive information from the ACNC Register.

Commissioner's Interpretation Statement - Provision of housing by charities (1/12/2014)
The purpose of this Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement is to provide guidance on the application of charity law to housing providers.

Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement: The Hunger Project case (16/10/2014)
Provides guidance to ACNC staff, charities and the public on the application of the law as set out in Commissioner of Taxation v Hunger Project Australia [2014] FCAFC 69, affirming the original decision.

Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement: Indigenous charities (22/01/2014)
The purpose of this Interpretation Statement is to provide guidance to ACNC staff on the how charity law applies to Indigenous charities, including the recognition of Indigenous disadvantage and applying the public interest test.