Obligations to other government regulators

If your charity is registered with the ACNC it has ongoing obligations to the ACNC to maintain its registration. In addition to obligations to the us, charities may also have obligations to other Commonwealth, state, or local government agencies due to benefits they receive, their legal structure, how they fundraise, or their specific sector.

We actively work with these agencies to reduce the regulatory burden for charities.

Tax concessions, exemptions and other benefits

Commonwealth taxes

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is responsible for deciding eligibility for Commonwealth charity tax benefits. Charities may be eligible for tax benefits including:

  • income tax exemption and franking credits
  • goods and services tax (GST) concessions
  • fringe benefits tax (FBT) rebates and exemptions, and
  • deductible gift recipient (DGR) status.

The ATO decides which concessions and benefits a charity is eligible to receive.

Common Reporting Standard (CRS)

The Common Reporting Standard (CRS) is the single global standard for the collection, reporting and exchange of financial account information on foreign tax residents, and is designed to reduce tax evasion. The standard affects some charities. The ATO provides information to selected overseas tax authorities, and in exchange will receive financial account information on Australian residents from those overseas tax authorities. For more information on CRS, refer to the ATO website.

State/territory taxes

Charities may be eligible to receive exemptions from taxes collected by state and territory governments such as payroll tax, land tax and stamp duty.

Read more about obligations to state and territory regulators.

Local government concessions

Some local government authorities may offer concessions to charities. For more information, contact the local government authority in the areas where your charity operates.

There are several types of legal structures used by charities. Different obligations apply to each type. Your charity’s legal structure affects many things, such as:

  • its reporting and governance requirements to the government agency that incorporated (registered) it

  • its ability to operate outside the state it is registered in without further registration, or

  • its eligibility for certain tax concessions.

The types listed here are examples of the most common legal structures, but there are others (such as trusts and unincorporated associations).

Companies

Charities incorporated as companies, registered Australian bodies and foreign companies are registered under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and are regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Read more about companies limited by guarantee and ASIC/ACNC requirements for charities.

alert icon Registered charities that are incorporated as companies or registered with ASIC have many of their notification and reporting obligations to ASIC replaced by obligations to the ACNC.

Cooperatives

Some charities are incorporated using the legal structure of ‘cooperative’ and are regulated by state and territory governments. A cooperative is a type of organisation that is owned, controlled and used by its members. There are different kinds of cooperatives. Read more about obligations to state and territory regulators for cooperatives.

Incorporated associations

Most charities are incorporated associations and are regulated by state and territory governments. Incorporation is a voluntary, simple and inexpensive means of establishing a legal entity. It is particularly suitable for small, community-based organisations. These charities have 'Inc.’ or ‘Incorporated’ at the end of their name.

Incorporated associations may have obligations to state or territory government regulators, such as providing annual reports or keeping financial records. Charities must still meet these obligations.

Read more about obligations to state and territory regulators for incorporated associations.

Indigenous corporations

Charities registered as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations are regulated by the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations are a particular type of corporation registered according to the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth) (CATSI Act). These corporations are controlled by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The ACNC and ORIC are working together to try to reduce the number of times Indigenous corporations must report.

alert icon Annual reports lodged with ORIC will satisfy your corporation’s reporting obligations to the ACNC.

Find out more about how the ACNC affects your Indigenous corporation.

Trusts

There are many different types of trusts. Only trusts supporting a charitable purpose that meet legal meaning of charity and our requirements for registration can register as charities with the ACNC.

Read more about Trusts and the ACNC.

Unincorporated associations

An unincorporated association is a type of organisational structure for a charity. Unlike an incorporated structure, an unincorporated association is not a separate legal entity from its members. It is simply the group itself, of people who has agreed to come together to pursue a common purpose, such as to establish a faith community.

Read more about unincorporated associations.

Charities that undertake activities to raise money (fundraising) may be required to meet obligations (such as applying for a permit or license to fundraise) to a fundraising regulator in the state or territory in which they operate.

Charities that conduct fundraising through gaming activities (such as lotteries or raffles) may have obligations to the gaming regulator in the state or territory they are conducting the activity in. We are working with state and territory regulators to harmonise reporting requirements for charities.

Read more about obligations to state and territory regulators.

Non-government schools

Non-government schools currently submit a financial questionnaire to the Department of Education and Training (DET). We currently accept the financial questionnaire as meeting our requirements under the ACNC Act to complete the financial information in the Annual Information Statement (and to lodge a financial report for medium and large charities).

Find out more about how the ACNC transitional arrangements streamline reporting for your non-government school

There are other laws that affect the operation of charities covering areas such as employment, trading, occupational health and safety, workers' compensation and anti-discrimination. For example, charities are required to meet obligations under work health and safety legislation and workers' compensation legislation in every state and territory. It is important to note that your obligations may vary between states and territories, if your charity works in more than one.

Some charities may have responsibilities that are specific to their area of work. For example, charities that provide aged care services may need to meet other obligations or hold accreditation as part of working in this field, and charities that work with young people may require their staff and volunteers to undertake a working with children check or police check.

Failing to comply with relevant laws in your state or territory can have serious consequences for your charity.