This fact sheet provides an overview of laws and regulations affecting charities in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), not a complete guide. For more information about laws and regulations in the ACT, please consult the relevant regulatory agencies.

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

Charities that fundraise

Fundraising in the ACT is regulated by two government agencies:

Fundraising activities

Access Canberra is responsible for registering and regulating organisations conducting fundraising activities under the Charitable Collections Act 2003 (ACT) and the Charitable Collections Regulation 2003 (ACT).

Fundraising licenses

From 1 July 2017, charities that fundraise in the ACT are no longer required to hold a charitable collections license.

Annual reporting

Charities are not required to lodge annual fundraising statements to Access Canberra. Instead, they can submit the Annual Information Statement to the ACNC.

alert icon Note: If a charity has a charitable collections license (ACT Fundraising license number), they should provide this in the Annual Information Statement.

From the 2018 Annual Information Statement, medium and large charities must ensure that the financial reports they provide to the ACNC meet all the ACNC reporting requirements.

Authorised gaming

The ACT Gambling and Racing Commission is responsible for regulating fundraising activities through lotteries (which includes raffle and Calcutta events).

Charities may need to apply for a permit to conduct lotteries. To find out more visit the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission website.

alert icon Note: For more information about fundraising, see our factsheet on Fundraising in the ACT.

Incorporated associations

Some charities in the ACT are incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 1991 (ACT). These are called 'incorporated associations' and have 'Inc.' or 'Incorporated' at the end of their name.

Incorporated associations have a number of obligations, such as keeping appropriate financial records, following their rules and holding annual general meetings. These obligations are regulated by Access Canberra.

Annual reporting obligations

Charities are not required to lodge annual statements to Access Canberra. Instead, they can submit the Annual Information Statement to the ACNC.

alert icon Note: Charities should provide their incorporated association number when submitting the Annual Information Statement.

From the 2018 reporting period, Medium and large charities must ensure that the financial reports they provide to the ACNC meet all the ACNC reporting requirements.

Other obligations

Associations do not need to notify Access Canberra of changes to charity details such as the Address For Service, business address, contact details and committee members.

However, charities must notify Access Canberra of any changes to its rules or governing document.

When to contact the ACNC or Access Canberra

I want to:

ACNC

Access Canberra

Additional information

Incorporate an association

No

Yes

A charity must be approved as an incorporated association before applying to the ACNC.

Register as a charity

Yes

No

Change a charity’s rules

Yes

Yes

Before a charity notifies the ACNC of a change to its rules, Access Canberra must approve the change.

Update a charity’s address or contact details

Yes

No

The ACNC will provide updated information to Access Canberra.

Update a charity’s Responsible Persons (committee members)

Yes

No

The ACNC will provide updated information to Access Canberra.

Update a charity’s public officer

No

Yes

Associations need to notify Access Canberra as the ACNC does not collect information about the public officer (unless the public officer is also a responsible person).

Submit the Annual Information Statement and financial report

Yes

No

Revoke a charity registration

Yes

No

A charity must revoke its registration with the ACNC when it winds up.

End an association

No

Yes

If an association is no longer running, it must notify Access Canberra.

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 also regulated by Access Canberra.

To find out more, visit the Access Canberra website.

Other legal structures

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

Territory taxes

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

To find out more, visit the State Revenue Office website or call 02 6207 0028.

Local government

There are a number of other laws that affect charities in the ACT which cover areas such as employment, trading, occupational health and safety, and anti-discrimination. For example, charities that operate in the ACT 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:

The ACNC's list of regulators page
The ACNC's other regulators page