Charities must ensure they continue to be entitled to registration under the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 (Cth) (the ACNC Act). This involves meeting all of the criteria for both initial registration and ongoing registration, including that it:
- continues to be a charity. This means it must:
- remain not-for-profit, and
- have a charitable purpose which is for the public benefit
- complies with the Governance Standards and, if applicable, the External Conduct Standards
- has an Australian Business Number (ABN), and
- is not involved in terrorist or other criminal activity.
A charity must also make sure it continues to meet the description of the charity ‘subtype’ with which it is registered (for example, 'advancing education' or 'advancing health'). This subtype is a category of charity that reflects its charitable purpose.
For more information, see our guidance about charitable purposes and charity subtypes.
The ACNC's charity registration self-assessment check is a useful resource for monitoring your charity's entitlement to registration.
Your duty to notify the ACNC if your charity fails to meet obligations
You must notify us if you think your charity is not, in a significant way, meeting its ongoing obligations – and as a result is no longer entitled to be registered.
The ACNC Act states you must notify the ACNC within 28 days of becoming aware of your charity’s failure to meet its obligations. For example, if your charity changes its purpose and it no longer corresponds to the charity subtype under which it is registered.
See our guidance on notifying the ACNC for more information.
Voluntarily revoking your charity registration
If your charity is no longer entitled to be registered with the ACNC, you can voluntarily revoke its registration.
If your charity is no longer registered with the ACNC, it will no longer receive Commonwealth charity tax concessions or other benefits or exemptions available to registered charities. The ACNC Charity Register will also show that the charity's registration has been revoked.
To apply to have your charity's registration revoked, log in to the ACNC Charity Portal. Click on your charity's name, then go to 'Manage other charity details' and complete the form 'Apply to have your charity's registration revoked'.
In the voluntary revocation application, you must outline why you wish to voluntarily revoke your charity’s registration.
It is important to note that the ACNC will not automatically approve a charity’s request to voluntarily revoke its registration. The ACNC has to consider several factors before making a decision.
Read our Commissioner's Policy Statement: Voluntary revocation for more information.
ACNC regulatory powers
Compliance and enforcement powers
A charity’s registration may also be affected if:
- it has breached a section of the ACNC Act (or is more likely than not to), such as failing to notify or report
- it has not complied with a Governance Standard or External Conduct Standard that applies to it (or is more likely to apply to it than not)
- the ACNC discovers that a charity has provided information that was false or misleading when applying for registration
- it has:
- a trustee in bankruptcy
- a liquidator, or
- a person appointed, or authorised, under an Australian law to manage its affairs because it is unable to pay all its debts as and when they become due and payable.
Read more about the ACNC’s approach to regulating charities, and your rights of review and appeal of our decisions.
Revocation of charity registration
If a charity loses its entitlement to registration, the ACNC may revoke its registration and backdate this revocation to when the charity ceased to be eligible. Before taking this action, the ACNC would communicate with the charity to discuss the options available.
If a charity does not meet its obligations, the ACNC focuses its efforts on providing guidance and advice to help the charity.
However, we will use our regulatory powers when it is necessary in order to maintain public trust and confidence in the sector.
Read our Commissioner's Policy Statement: Revocation by the ACNC for more information.