Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement: Public Benevolent Institutions


Commissioner’s Interpretation Statements provide guidance to ACNC staff, charities and the public on how the ACNC understands the law that applies to charities. 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, 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.

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. The Australian Taxation Office administers the taxation implications of being a registered charity and the PBI subtype of charity for Commonwealth purposes.

This Interpretation Statement should be read together with Appendix A, which sets out scenarios illustrating how the ACNC will apply this Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement in practice.

This Interpretation statement was approved by the Commissioner on 19 December 2016