This guidance is an overview of laws and regulations affecting charities in the Northern Territory. For more detailed information about the laws and regulations in the Northern Territory, 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 Licensing NT. This page also has information about cooperatives 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 the NT are incorporated under the Associations Act 2003 (NT). These are called 'incorporated associations' and have 'Inc.' or 'Incorporated' at the end of their name.
Incorporated associations in the NT have a number of obligations to Licensing NT, including keeping appropriate financial records, following their rules and holding annual general meetings.
More information about this is available on the NT Government website.
Annual reporting obligations
Registered charities that are incorporated associations in the NT can use their ACNC Annual Information Statement to fulfil their reporting obligations to Licensing NT.
This means that by submitting the Annual Information Statement, an association won’t need to submit a report to Licensing NT or pay Licensing NT’s annual fee. To take part in this arrangement, a charity must include the following in the Annual Information Statement:
- incorporated association number issued by Licensing NT
- annual financial statements (if required by Licensing NT).
Ordinarily, the ACNC doesn’t require a small charity to submit a financial report as part of its Annual Information Statement. However, if a small charity wants to take advantage of this reporting arrangement with the NT, it will need to submit one as part of the Annual Information Statement.
For medium and large charities, submitting a financial report is a requirement in the ACNC’s Annual Information Statement.
Medium and large associations must ensure financial reports they provide to the ACNC meet all the ACNC reporting requirements.
For more information, visit the Licensing NT website.
Associations must still notify Licensing NT of changes to the association’s name, details or rules:
When to contact ACNC or Licensing NT
|I want to:||ACNC||Licensing NT||Additional information|
|Incorporate an association||No||Yes|
|Register as a charity||Yes||No||A charity must be approved as incorporated associations before applying to the ACNC.|
|Change a charity’s rules||Yes||Yes||Before a charity notifies the ACNC of a change to its rules, Licensing NT 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.|
|Wind up an association||No||Yes||If an association is no longer running, it must be wound up with Licensing NT too.|
A cooperative is a type of organisation that is owned, controlled and used by its members. There are different types of cooperatives.
Cooperatives in the NT are regulated under uniform national legislation.
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 the NT may also be eligible to receive concessions on some territory taxes, including payroll tax, land tax and stamp duty from the Territory Revenue Office.
To find out more, visit the Territory Revenue Office website or call 1300 305 353.
Other general obligations
There are a number of other laws that affect the operation of charities in the NT 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 (National Uniform Legislation) Act.
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
It is important to note that the Northern Territory does not have legislation that governs charitable fundraising.
However, Licensing NT is responsible for regulating any raffles or gaming activities.
See our guidance about fundraising in the Northern Territory for more information.