This guidance is an overview of laws and regulations affecting charities in New South Wales. For more detailed information about the laws and regulations in New South Wales, please consult the relevant regulatory agencies.
This guide covers the reporting and other obligations of incorporated associations that are registered charities, and explains when incorporated associations need to contact the ACNC or New South Wales (NSW) Fair Trading. This page also has information about co-operatives and other legal structures, tax concessions, and other obligations that charities may have.
See our guidance about ongoing obligations to the ACNC for information about the requirements that all charities must meet to remain registered.
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 by NSW Fair Trading.
Annual reporting obligations
Charities that are incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 2009 (NSW):
- only need to report to the ACNC using the Annual Information Statement
- are not required to pay an annual fee.
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.
These arrangements do not apply to incorporated associations that form part of an ACNC approved reporting group, or associations that have been approved by the ACNC to withhold financial details (such as total revenue) or financial reports from the ACNC Charity Register.
All associations must still notify NSW Fair Trading of changes to the association’s name, details or rules.
When to contact the ACNC or NSW Fair Trading
|I want to:||ACNC||NSW Fair Trading||Additional information|
|Incorporate an association||No||Yes|
|Register as a charity||Yes||No||A charity must be approved as an incorporated association before applying to the ACNC.|
|Change a charity’s rules||Yes||Yes||Before a charity notifies the ACNC of a change to its rules, NSW Fair Trading must approve the change.|
|Change a charity’s name||Yes||Yes|
|Update a charity’s address or contact details||Yes||Yes|
|Update a charity’s Responsible People, including the secretary||Yes||Yes|
|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 a charity is no longer operating, it must be wound up with NSW Fair Trading.|
|Request an extension of time to hold a charity's Annual General Meeting (AGM)||No||Yes|
|Request an extension of time to submit a charity's Annual Information Statement||Yes||No||If a charity requires an extension of time to submit its Annual Information Statement because its Annual General Meeting has been delayed, it will need to firstly apply to NSW Fair Trading for an AGM extension.|
A co-operative is a type of organisation that is owned, controlled and used by its members. There are different types of co-operatives.
Charities that are co-operatives 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:
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.
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.
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.
See our guidance about other regulators for information about state, territory and Commonwealth Government agencies that may affect registered charities.
Charities that fundraise
Fundraising in New South Wales is regulated by NSW Fair Trading.
See our guidance about fundraising in New South Wales for more information.