alert icon You can ask the ACNC to withhold details about your charity, or the names and positions of Responsible Persons, from the ACNC Register.

Your charity can have this information withheld from the Register either through the ACNC Charity Portal, or through the Registration Form.

Information you can apply to have withheld

alert white icon When you apply to have the Annual Information Statement withheld, this does not include the financial report, other financial documents or your Governing Document attached in the Annual Information Statement. You need to apply to withhold each document separately.

You can ask the ACNC to withhold a variety of details about your charity - or details linked to the names and positions of Responsible Persons - from the public ACNC Register. This information can include:

Charity details

  • Legal name
  • Other name(s)
  • ABN
  • Address for service
  • Charity street address
  • Charity phone number
  • Charity email address

raise concern icon If you apply to have any of the above pieces of information withheld from the ACNC Register, they will not automatically be withheld from Annual Information Statements which appear as PDF documents on the Charity Register.

  • Responsible Persons’ names and positions

raise concern blue icon For all charities, only the name and position of each Responsible Person will be published on the ACNC Register (for example: John Smith, Director).

The ACNC will not publish the contact details or date of birth of any of your charity's Responsible Persons (such as a board or committee member, or trustee) on the ACNC Register. You do not need to apply to have the Responsible Persons' contact details or date of birth withheld from the Register.

  • Annual Information Statement
  • Governing Document

raise concern icon When supplying the ACNC with the charity’s governing documents, you are able to upload two versions: one complete document and one document with any personal information (such as names) blanked out.

You can do this via the charity portal without applying to withhold information. The ACNC will contact you if it considers that some or all of the blanked out information should be published.

  • Financial report

raise concern blue icon When you apply to have your financial report withheld, this does not include the financial information questions in the Annual Information Statement.

  • Other financial document (such as a review or audit report)

For each specific piece of information you want withheld, you need to choose a reason and explain why it applies to your charity.

We can only withhold information for the reasons given in the drop-down list, and also (for most of them) only if the likely harm caused by publishing the information is greater than the public interest in publishing it.

All charities

Reasons to withhold information from the Register include:

  • publishing the information could endanger public safety
  • the information is commercially sensitive and publishing it could cause harm to the charity or a person
  • the information is inaccurate, or likely to confuse or mislead, or
  • the information is offensive.

Private ancillary funds

Additional reasons to withhold information from the Register include:

  • the information is likely to identify an individual donor, or
  • publishing contact details would create an unreasonable administrative burden for your charity.

new guidance icon Case study: Her Shelter

Reason to withhold information

Her Shelter (VIC) is a charity that provides crisis accommodation and therapeutic support for women and children escaping domestic and family violence in Victoria.

The Her Shelter board met to discuss the potential risk of harm to clients or staff if the charity's street address was published on the ACNC Register. They decide to apply to the ACNC to withhold this information on the grounds that it could endanger public safety.

The ACNC’s decision

The ACNC reviews the application and decides that publishing the shelter's street address could endanger the lives of the clients and staff, and there is no overriding public interest in making that information available to the public. The information is withheld.

new guidance icon Case study: Highlands

Reason to withhold information

Highlands is a community church that also runs a community pre-school. They have two subtypes – advancing religion and advancing education.

They are medium in size and are required to submit a reviewed financial report with their Annual Information Statement in the current year.

The governing committee met and discussed how they have never had to publicly disclose their financial information before and believe it is commercially sensitive and publication of this information could cause the charity harm.

They decide to apply to the ACNC to have their financial report and the Annual Information Statement withheld because it will contain financial information questions. With the application to withhold information, they submit their complete financial report for the ACNC to review.

The ACNC’s decision

The Highlands' governing committee provides no specific information on why individual entries in the financial report are commercially sensitive. Nor does information in the financial report identify individual unit costs for any items Highlands sells, the individual salaries of employees, private donors names or the value in dollars of individual grants received.

The ACNC reviews the application and the financial report and decides it is not commercially sensitive.

The ACNC also determines that there is no information provided in the Annual Information Statement that is commercially sensitive as all the information is grouped. The ACNC emails the governing committee to inform them that the financial report and Annual Information Statement will not be withheld from the ACNC Register and the reasons for its decision.

The ACNC continues to withhold the financial report and Annual Information Statement for 60 days, providing Highlands with the opportunity to appeal the decision. After the 60 days if Highlands does not appeal the decision, the financial report and Annual Information Statement automatically appear on the ACNC Register.

1. Apply through the ACNC Charity Portal

If there is information you believe you are entitled to have withheld from the ACNC Register, you need to

  • apply during your registration as a charity, or
  • before you update charity details on the portal or submit your charity’s Annual Information Statement.

2. Continue reporting and updating charity details through the Charity Portal

Your charity should continue to report and update details immediately after you submit your application to withhold information. The ACNC will withhold that information pending a decision on your application.

3. The ACNC make a decision

The ACNC will make a decision on all requests for information to be withheld.

When you submit a withholding request, the ACNC will automatically withhold your entire charity record until a decision is made.

If we do not approve your application, we will contact you before we publish the information on the ACNC Register. If we approve your application, you will be sent a notice of outcome detailing what we have approved to withhold and why.

4. Future reports and updates

Generally, if we have approved an application to withhold information - including the Annual Information Statement - you do not need to reapply each year. That specific information will remain withheld for future reporting obligations and updates of charity information.

However, every time you upload a new document, for example a Governing Document or financial report, you will need to apply to have the information in the new document withheld.

If you apply for individual Responsible Persons' details to be withheld, each time you add a new Responsible Person you will need to apply to have their details withheld, if needed.

5. Redacted documents

If the charity has applied, and been approved by the ACNC, to withhold information from the ACNC Register, it is the charity’s responsibility to redact the approved information from any documents provided to the ACNC.

The charity must supply a full version of the document as well as a second version of the document that has the approved information redacted.

The full version will be kept for the ACNC’s internal records, while the redacted version will be published on the ACNC Register.

By the charity redacting the information itself, it will ensure that the charity is comfortable with the redacted document before it is published.

Tips when applying for information to be withheld

  • Know exactly what information you want withheld
  • Know the reason why you want the information withheld
  • If applying to withhold part of a document (such as your financial report), you must provide the complete version of the document you wish to have withheld. We need this information so we can make a decision about whether to withhold the information or not.
    • In addition, if the information is withheld on the ACNC Register, the ACNC requires a complete version or the document for our records

Protecting information

The ACNC is committed to protecting the confidential and sensitive information of charities. We are also committed to protecting the personal information of individuals (such as Responsible Persons) in accordance with our privacy policy.

Public interest in publishing

The ACNC will always consider whether the public interest in having information on the ACNC Register outweighs the likely harm of publishing the information.

Information about private ancillary funds

ACNC regulations allow private ancillary funds that are registered charities to submit withholding requests based on additional grounds. Generally, we will allow private ancillary funds to withhold their information if its publication is likely to identify individual donors.

This covers some funds formerly called ‘income tax exempt funds’ (ITEFs).