Charities have ongoing obligations to the ACNC that they must meet in order to remain registered.
These obligations are to:
- keep charity status
- notify the ACNC of changes
- keep records
- report annually
- comply with the ACNC Governance Standards and External Conduct Standards.
Keep charity status
Charities must keep their charity status by maintaining their entitlement to registration. This includes being not-for-profit and having a charitable purpose that is for the public benefit.
Notify the ACNC of changes
Charities must notify the ACNC if any of the following details change:
- legal name
- Address For Service (where ACNC correspondence is sent)
- Responsible People (people who are members of your charity's governing body, including directors or committee members, or its trustees)
- governing document (such as its constitution, rules or trust deed).
You must also notify us if you think your charity is not meeting its ongoing obligations to the ACNC in a significant way, and as a result, your organisation is no longer entitled to be registered.
Charities must keep financial and operational records.
A charity's financial records need to correctly record and explain its transactions and financial position. These records must also allow the charity to prepare true and fair financial statements.
The charity must also keep operational records which explain its activities. Charities operating overseas have specific record-keeping requirements for their overseas activities and resources sent overseas.
Report information annually
All charities must report annually to the ACNC (except charities that are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations registered with the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations).
Charities must submit an Annual Information Statement every year, which is due within six months of the end of a charity's reporting period and is submitted online in the ACNC Charity Portal. Some charities are also required to submit an annual financial report.
Comply with the ACNC Governance Standards and External Conduct Standards
All charities (except a specific group of charities called Basic Religious Charities) must comply with the ACNC Governance Standards. These standards set out a minimum standard of governance, to help promote public trust and confidence in charities.
Charities that operate overseas (including sending funds) must comply with the ACNC External Conduct Standards. These standards require charities to take reasonable steps to ensure appropriate standards of behaviour, governance, oversight and record-keeping when undertaking activities or providing resources overseas.
Unless we tell you otherwise, these ACNC obligations are in addition to any other obligations your charity has under other laws or to other Commonwealth, state and territory regulators. For example, if your charity is an incorporated association you will still have to report to your state or territory regulator for incorporated associations.
The ACNC works with other government departments and agencies to reduce regulatory burden for charities. Read more about our work in reducing red tape.