This Commissioner’s Policy Statement is issued under the authority of the Commissioner and should be read together with the ACNC Policy Framework, which sets out the scope, context and definitions common to our policies.
- This Commissioner's Policy Statement sets out the obligation of charities to notify the ACNC of certain matters, in particular certain changes to the charity’s details or matters that may affect its entitlement to registration under the ACNC Act.
- This policy does not cover the application of administrative penalties in the case of false or misleading statements. Refer to Commissioner’s Policy Statement 2015/02: Penalties for false or misleading statements for the Commissioner’s approach to these penalties. The policy also does not cover the Commissioner’s approach to the revocation of charities, which is addressed in Commissioner’s Policy Statement 2014/03: Revocation by the ACNC.
Duty to notify
- Under section 65-5 of the ACNC Act, charities must notify the Commissioner in the approved form of changes to:
- its name;
- its Address For Service;
- its Responsible People; and
- its governing rules.
- The timeframe within which a registered charity must notify the ACNC of certain matters varies depend on its size: small, medium or large. The charity’s size is based on its revenue for the reporting period (section 205-25 of the ACNC Act). Where a charity is required to notify the ACNC of the changes set out in paragraph 3, medium and large charities must notify the ACNC of these changes as soon as practicable and no later than 28 days after they first become aware of those changes. Small charities must notify the ACNC of these changes as soon as practicable and no later than 60 days after they first become aware of those changes.
- Charities must also notify the ACNC if the charity has contravened a provision of the ACNC Act or not complied with a governance standard in the ACNC Regulation 2013, where the contravention or non-compliance is significant and has resulted in the charity no longer being entitled to registration as a type or subtype of entity under the ACNC Act.
- In determining the significance of a contravention or non-compliance, the charity should consider:
- the nature, significance and persistence of any contravention or noncompliance; and
- the desirability of ensuring that contributions to the charity are applied consistently with the not-for-profit nature, and the purpose of the charity.
- In the case of a significant contravention or non-compliance as described in paragraph 5, all charities must notify the ACNC as soon as practicable, and no later than 28 days, after they first become aware of the contravention or noncompliance.
Notifying of changes or significant contraventions or noncompliance
- Charities should use the appropriate approved form to notify the ACNC of changes to certain matters and of significant contraventions or non-compliance.
- The forms approved by the Commissioner for these purposes are:
- Form 3A: Change of Responsible Person
- Form 3B: Change of charity details
- Form 3C: Notify contravention or non-compliance
- The ACNC also allows charities to advise of some changes to their details as part of completing the Annual Information Statement. However, because the Annual Information Statement is only submitted annually, it may not be due until substantially after a charity becomes aware of a change, or significant contravention or non-compliance. Charities have an ongoing duty to notify the ACNC of changes, and of significant contraventions or non-compliance within the timeframes stated in paragraphs 3-7, even if this is earlier than the date that their Annual Information Statement is due.
Failure to notify
- In order to ensure the ACNC and public are informed of matters which may affect the charity’s entitlement to registration, it is necessary that the ACNC is notified of significant contraventions or non-compliance. The ACNC relies on charities providing required information in a timely manner. When a charity fails to notify of changes to their circumstances, or of significant contraventions or non-compliance, it reduces the transparency and integrity of the Charity Register, and risks undermining public trust and confidence in the Australian not-for-profit sector.
- Where a charity is required to notify the ACNC in the approved form but fails to do so within the timeframes stated in paragraph 4 and 6, it is liable to pay an administrative penalty for failing to lodge documents on time. Penalties become due for payment once the Commissioner has given written notice of the charity’s liability to pay the penalty. For more information on late lodgement penalties, refer to Commissioner’s Policy Statement 2014/02: Penalties for failing to lodge documents on time.
- Failure to notify the ACNC of the required matters is a breach of the ACNC Act, and may result in further compliance action being taken. In some circumstances, failing to notify the ACNC of required matters may be grounds for the ACNC to revoke the registration of a charity (subparagraph 35-10(1)(c)(i) of the ACNC Act). The Commissioner’s approach to the revocation of charities is addressed in Commissioner’s Policy Statement 2014/03: Revocation by the ACNC.
- The Commissioner also has the power to defer the due date for an approved form to be lodged under section 190-15 of the ACNC Act. In exercising this power, the Commissioner must have regard to the matters listed in section 15-10 of the ACNC Act. The Commissioner will exercise this discretion if it is fair and reasonable or there is a genuine need to do so, taking into account the charity’s individual circumstances. This discretion will be exercised in line with the ACNC's regulatory approach.
- Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 (Cth) ss 65-5, 15-10, 190-15, 205-5, Subdivision 175-C
- ACNC Annual Information Statement policy
- Form 3A: Responsible Person change
- Form 3B: Notification of change of charity details
- Form 3C: Notification of contravention or non-compliance
- Commissioner’s Policy Statement 2014/02: Penalties for failing to lodge documents on time
- Commissioner’s Policy Statement 2014/03: Revocation by the ACNC
|Version||Date of effect||Brief summary of change|
|Version 1 - initial policy||13/5/2013||Initial policy endorsed by the Commissioner on 13/05/2013|
|Version 2 - revised policy||16/12/2013||Extension of time to 31 March 2014|
|Version 3 - revised policy||01/04/2014||Extension of time to 31 December 2014 for duty to notify|
|Version 4 - revised policy||09/01/2017||
To remove outdated transitional arrangements and update the policy to reflect potential compliance implications of not notifying as required.