If your charity is registered with the ACNC, it has ongoing obligations to the ACNC to maintain its registration.
In addition, charities may also have obligations to other Commonwealth, state, territory, or local government agencies. This page outlines the other regulators that charities may have obligations to, regarding:
- tax concessions, exemptions and other benefits
- legal structure
- non-government schools
- other laws and obligations.
We actively work with these agencies to reduce the regulatory burden for charities.
Tax concessions, exemptions and other benefits
There are a number of tax concessions available to charities from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and from state, territory and local governments.
For more information, see our guidance about charity tax concessions.
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
- deductible gift recipient (DGR) status.
The ATO decides which concessions and benefits a charity is eligible to receive. An organisation must be registered as a charity with the ACNC to apply for charity tax concessions from the ATO.
For more information about Commonwealth tax concessions, as well as all other tax queries, visit the ATO website, or contact their not-for-profit team on 1300 130 248.
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.
Charities may be eligible to receive exemptions from taxes collected by state and territory governments such as payroll tax, land tax and stamp duty.
The state and territory government agencies responsible for charity tax concessions are:
Australian Capital Territory
For information about stamp duties, payroll, land taxes and compliance.
Telephone: (02) 6207 0028
New South Wales
For information about taxes, stamp duty and compliance
Telephone: (02) 9689 6200
For information about payroll and land tax, stamp duty, and compliance
Telephone: 1300 305 353
For information about state taxation, including payroll tax, land tax, stamp duty and compliance.
Telephone: 1300 300 734
For information about payroll and land tax, stamp duty and compliance
Telephone: (08) 8226 3750
For general queries about payroll and land taxes, stamp duty and compliance
Telephone: (03) 6233 4400
For queries about taxes, including payroll, land tax and stamp duty, and compliance
Telephone: 13 21 61
For information about payroll and land taxes, stamp duty and compliance
Telephone: (08) 6551 1000
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
- its eligibility for certain tax concessions.
If your charity has a formal legal structure and is a company, registered Australian body or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation, the directors of the charity will need a director identification number (director ID).
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).
Companies and other registered charities that are registered with ASIC have many of their notification and reporting obligations to ASIC replaced by obligations to the ACNC.
Most charities are incorporated associations and are regulated by state and territory governments.
This legal structure 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.
Click on your state or territory for more information about the regulation of incorporated associations.
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.
Find out more about Indigenous corporations registered with the ACNC.
Annual reports lodged with ORIC will satisfy your corporation’s reporting obligations to the ACNC.
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.
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.
Unincorporated associations are not regulated with another government agency.
Read more about unincorporated associations.
Some charities are incorporated using the legal structure of ‘co-operative’ and are regulated by state and territory governments. A co-operative is a type of organisation that is owned, controlled and used by its members. There are different kinds of co-operatives.
Co-operatives are regulated by the same state and territory agencies as incorporated associations. Click on the incorporated association heading above to find the regulator in your state or territory.
The ACNC does not regulated fundraising – it is regulated at a state and territory level. Charities that undertake fundraising activities may be required to meet obligations to a fundraising regulator in the state or territory in which they operate. This may include applying for a permit or license to fundraise in that state or territory.
Charities that conduct fundraising through gaming activities (such as lotteries or raffles) may have obligations to the gaming regulator in the state or territory where they are conducting the activity.
See our ACNC Fundraising Hub for information about fundraising regulation in the states and territories, and for useful resources about charities and fundraising.
We are working with state and territory regulators to reduce red tape for charities, including charities that engage in fundraising activities.
Non-government schools currently submit a financial questionnaire to the Department of Education (DoE). 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).
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.