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In order to maintain their registration, charities are required to report annually to the ACNC.

This annual reporting is completed through the Annual Information Statement. Some charities are also required to submit an annual financial report.

Charities also have other ongoing obligations to the ACNC to maintain their charity registration. This includes keeping financial and operational records, notifying us of changes to charity details, complying with the Governance Standards and, if applicable, complying with the External Conduct Standards.

Why charities have to report annually to the ACNC

The ACNC Act requires registered charities to submit an Annual Information Statement. Medium and large sized charities are also required to submit an annual financial report.

If a charity does not meet their reporting obligations, it may have its charity registration revoked.

The annual reporting supports our work to:

  • maintain, protect and enhance public trust and confidence in the sector through increased accountability and transparency
  • promote the reduction of unnecessary regulatory obligations on the charity sector.

These are two of the three objects contained in the ACNC Act.

We use responses to Annual Information Statement questions in a variety of ways. Once we receive your charity’s responses, we:

  • publish the information - excluding some personal information - on the ACNC Charity Register, unless your charity successfully applies to have that information withheld
  • use the information to administer the ACNC Act, including assessing your charity's entitlement to registration, and its compliance with the Act
  • may share that information with other authorised Australian government agencies through the Charity Passport, removing the need for those agencies to ask you for the same information
  • share it with researchers through, contributing to charity sector transparency
  • analyse it in order to tailor our guidance and education to charities and the sector, as well as to provide information to donors, volunteers and the public in an effort to build greater understanding of the sector
  • monitor trends in the sector by comparing information over reporting periods.

Charity size and reporting requirements

Charity size

A charity’s annual reporting requirements depend on its charity size (small, medium, or large).

Charity size is based on total annual revenue. Revenue arises in the course of a charity’s ordinary activities, and is a component of total income. Revenue can include donations, government grants, and income from the sale of goods or services.

If a charity receives a large bequest, or there is a similar one-off event, it may change size for one reporting period. If the charity is likely to return to its original size in the following reporting period, it can apply to keep the original charity size for the reporting period with the one-off donation.

For more information, see our guidance on keeping your charity size.

Reporting requirements

All charities are required to submit an Annual Information Statement each year, and medium and large sized charities also need to submit an annual financial report.

This table summarises the annual reporting requirements for charities based on their size.

Small Medium Large
Annual Information Statement Tick icon Tick icon Tick icon
Annual financial report (optional) Tick icon 1 Tick icon 1
Basis of accounting Cash or accrual Accrual 1 Accrual 1
Type of financial statement 2 Small charities can choose to submit a financial statement. The type of financial statement can be the same as a medium or large charity
  • Special purpose financial statement (if not a “reporting entity”) or
  • General Purpose Financial Statement – Reduced/Simplified Disclosure Requirements (Tier 2) or
  • General Purpose Financial Statement – Full (Tier 1)
Review or audit for annual financial report No ACNC obligation for review or audit The ACNC requires your financial reports to be either reviewed or audited 2 The ACNC requires your financial reports to be audited

1Unless the charity is a Basic Religious Charity or other transitional reporting arrangements apply.

2A charity's governing document or grant funding agreements may state whether its financial report needs to be reviewed or audited.

View more information about exemptions to the standard annual reporting requirements on this page.

Financial reporting

Charities need to provide financial information in the Annual Information Statement, and medium and large charities also need to submit an annual financial report.

In some cases, charities may be exempt from providing financial information to us. For more information, see the guidance on this page about exemptions to the annual reporting requirements.

Small charities can choose to use either cash or accrual accounting, while medium and large charities must use accrual accounting.

Our guidance about annual financial reports includes an explanation of what an annual financial report is, and a checklist that charities can use for reference.

A charity’s financial statements must be either General Purpose Financial Statements (GPFS) or Special Purpose Financial Statements (SPFS). The type of financial statements a charity must prepare depends on if it is classified as a reporting entity.

The annual financial report needs to be audited for large charities, and can be either reviewed or audited for medium charities. We have guidance about reviewing and auditing financial reports, as well as some practical tips.

We also have some information about accounting and auditing standards bodies, as well as some frequently asked questions about how the standards affect specific elements of annual financial reporting for charities.

In their financial reporting, charities may need to report on key management personnel remuneration and related party transactions.

Other regulators, withholding requests, and group reporting and bulk lodgement

Registered charities may also have obligations to other regulators.

As part of our work to reduce red tape, the ACNC has streamlined arrangements in place with other federal and state and territory regulators.

Charities that meet the requirements to participate in these streamlined arrangements only need to report to the ACNC in the Annual Information Statement. We pass this information on to the other regulator, and this will fulfil the other regulator's reporting obligations as well.

To see if your charity is eligible to participate in a streamlined reporting arrangement, see our guidance about red tape reduction.

We also have transitional reporting arrangements in place with several government agencies.

The information that charities provide in their annual reporting (excluding some personal information) is published on the ACNC Charity Register and is accessible to the public.

However, if your charity believes there are valid reasons for us not to publish some of the information you submitted in your annual reporting, you can apply to have that information withheld from the Register.

Only information that fits within certain criteria can be withheld. This includes information that may be commercially sensitive, or may cause harm if published. We may still publish this information if the public interest in doing so is greater than the risk.

Your charity can submit a request to withhold information through the ACNC Charity Portal. Find out more about how we decide what information to withhold.

Some charities are able to report to the ACNC in the Annual Information Statement as a group, rather than individually.

If you want your charities to report to the ACNC as part of a group, you must first apply for group reporting.

Bulk lodgement is the process that allows you to submit 10 or more Annual Information Statements on behalf of multiple registered charities on a single form.

Bulk lodgement is commonly used by corporate trustees administrating multiple trusts, or by denomination administration offices overseeing multiple religious charities.

Read more about group reporting and bulk lodgement.

Exemptions to the standard annual reporting requirements

In certain circumstances, some charities may be exempt from answering some questions in the Annual Information Statement, or may not be required to report directly to the ACNC at all.

Charities that are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations are regulated by the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC), and do not need to submit an Annual Information Statement or annual financial report to the ACNC.

Read more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations, and the obligations these organisations have to ORIC and the ACNC.

A Basic Religious Charity is a type of religious charity that meets six specific criteria.

Basic Religious Charities must submit an Annual Information Statement each year, but do not need to:

  • answer the financial information questions, or
  • submit an annual financial report, even if they are a medium or large sized charity.

Read more about Basic Religious Charities and their obligations to the ACNC.

Non-government schools that are registered charities with the ACNC can use special reporting arrangements we have established with the Department of Education to streamline their government reporting obligations.

Charities that are eligible to participate in this reporting arrangement do not need to provide financial information in the Annual Information Statement. Instead, they need to complete the Department of Education's Financial Questionnaire.

Read more about these arrangements for non-government schools.

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