This fact sheet provides an overview of laws and regulations affecting charities in New South Wales (NSW), not a complete guide. For more information about laws and regulations in NSW, please consult the relevant regulatory agencies.

Information on ACNC-related obligations can be found on our Ongoing Obligations page.

Charities that fundraise

NSW Fair Trading regulates charitable fundraising activities as well as community gaming.

Fundraising activities

NSW Fair Trading is responsible for registering and regulating organisations that fundraise for charitable purposes.

In addition to ACNC obligations, charities that fundraise must comply with:

alert icon To find out more, visit the NSW Fair Trading website or call 13 32 20.

Community gaming

NSW Fair Trading is also responsible for regulating any fundraising conducted through community gaming, such as raffles and bingo.

To find out more, visit the NSW Fair Trading website or call 13 32 20.

alert icon Note: For more information about fundraising, see our factsheet on Fundraising in New South Wales.

Incorporated associations

Some charities in NSW are incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 2009 (NSW). These are called 'incorporated associations' and have 'Inc.' or 'Incorporated' at the end of their name.

Incorporated associations have a number of responsibilities such as keeping appropriate financial records, following their rules and holding annual general meetings. These responsibilities are regulated in NSW by Fair Trading.

Annual reporting obligations

From the 2018 reporting period, the majority of registered charities that are incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 2009 in NSW will:

  • only need to report to the ACNC using the Annual Information Statement
  • not be required to pay an annual fee.

To participate in this arrangement, associations must provide the following information in the Annual Information Statement:

  • NSW incorporated association number
  • details of the public officer (name, address and email address)
  • date of the Annual General Meeting
  • whether the charity has five (or more) members
  • whether the charity three (or more) committee members

Medium and large charities must ensure that the financial reports they provide to the ACNC meet all ACNC reporting requirements.

The ACNC has approved a transition period for the 2018 and 2019 reporting periods to help charities to adjust to these requirements.

alert icon Incorporated associations that form part of an ACNC approved reporting group and/or have certain details withheld from the ACNC Charity Register will not be able to take part in these arrangements. For more information, visit our pages on group reporting and withheld information.

Other obligations

All associations must still notify NSW Fair Trading of changes to the association’s name, details or rules.

When to contact ACNC or NSW Fair Trading

I want to:ACNCNSW Fair TradingAdditional information
Incorporate an associationNoYes
Register as a charityYesNoA charity must be approved as an incorporated association before applying to the ACNC.
Change a charity’s rulesYesYesBefore a charity notifies the ACNC of a change to its rules, NSW Fair Trading must approve the change.
Change a charity’s nameYesYes
Update a charity’s address or contact detailsYesYes
Update a charity’s Responsible Persons, including the secretaryYesYes
Submit the Annual Information Statement and financial reportYesNo
Revoke a charity registrationYesNoA charity must revoke its registration with the ACNC when it winds up.
End an associationNoYesIf an association is no longer running, it must be wound up with NSW Fair Trading too.


Cooperatives

A cooperative is a type of organisation that is owned, controlled and used by its members. There are different types of cooperatives.

Charities that are cooperatives are regulated by NSW Fair Trading.

To find out more, visit the NSW Fair Trading website or call 13 32 20.

Other legal structures

Information about reporting and other obligations for charities set up with other legal structures is available on these pages:

State taxes

Charities that operate in NSW may also be eligible to receive concessions on some state taxes, including payroll tax, land tax and stamp duty from the Office of State Revenue.

To find out more, visit the State Revenue Office website.

Local government

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

You can search a directory of local government authorities in NSW on the website of Local Government NSW.

Other general obligations

There are a number of other laws that affect charities in NSW covering areas such as employment, trading, occupational health and safety and anti-discrimination. For example, charities are obliged to meet obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

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 accreditations as part of working in this field.

Other regulators

The ACNC website has lists of state, territory and Commonwealth Government agencies with relevance to registered charities: