This checklist outlines the information that you will need to have ready to complete the application form. Work through the checklist to make sure you're prepared to complete the application fully.

If you want an indication of your organisation's eligibility to register as a charity, read our information on eligibility criteria and answer four simple questions.

alert icon Remember that your application will be delayed if you do not provide all the information we need.

Australian Business Number (ABN)

To register with the ACNC, the organisation must have an ABN. The ABN must:

  • be the organisation’s ABN (not an individual’s) and be registered with the same name as stated in the organisation’s governing document.
  • be registered with the correct ‘entity type’.

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Organisation name

We ask for the name of the organisation. The name of the organisation in the application must be the same name as the name:

  • listed on the Australian Business Register (ABR)
  • shown in the organisation’s governing document, and
  • registered with other regulators (such as ASIC) if applicable.

You also can provide any other names that the organisation is known by (for example, a trading name or an acronym). The organisation’s names will be published on the ACNC Charity Register.

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Contact details

We ask the following details of the organisation:

  • an Address For Service (an email address as well as a postal address)
  • a business address
  • a primary contact person and their contact details (this will be the organisation's contact person after it is registered)
  • a contact person for the ACNC to speak to about the application while we consider it (this can be the same as the primary contact person).

You should know...

  • Some of these details will be published on the Charity Register. In the application, this little computer icon i apply form computer icon will appear next to information that will be published on the Charity Register. Read more about information published on the Charity Register.
  • Charities can request that certain information be withheld from the Charity Register in limited circumstances. Read about the option to have details withheld from the Charity Register.

Legal Structure

We ask about the legal structure for the organisation – the type of entity the organisation is. (The most common types are incorporated association, company limited by guarantee, trust, and unincorporated.)

alert icon Individuals, sole traders, government entities and partnerships are ineligible to register as charities.

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  • Read more about legal structures.
  • To see what legal structure the organisation has, check its governing document (its constitution or rules) and its entry on the Australian Business Register.

Governing document

We ask that you upload a copy of the organisation's governing document. This is the formal document that sets out the organisation’s name, its charitable purposes and the rules and processes with which it operates.

This document may have different names depending on the type of organisation, but it is commonly called a constitution, rules, articles of association or trust deed.

The governing document must include:

  • the organisation’s legal name
  • the organisation’s charitable purposes
  • that the organisation operates on a not-for-profit basis, and
  • the rules and processes that outline the way the organisation makes decisions, the way it governed, and how it is to be wound up.

The governing document you upload as part of the application should be the final copy and not have any drafting amendments. And remember that this will be available on the Charity Register, so make sure you black out any personal information (such as people's addresses or their signatures) in the copy you upload as part of the application.

Organisations set up by an Act of Parliament, canon law, Letters Patent or Royal Charter may not have separate governing document and should provide a copy of their governing act instead.

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a z topic guides icon See our topic guide on governing documents

Date of establishment

We ask for the date that the organisation was established.

For an incorporated association or a company, the date of establishment is the date of incorporation or registration as a company.

For an unincorporated entity or a trust, the date of establishment is the date the organisation's governing document came into effect.

For organisations established under legislation, the date of establishment is the date the legislation was enacted.

    Charitable purposes

    We ask you to tell us the purposes of the organisation. These are the purposes for which the organisation was set up. Sometimes they are referred to as the 'objects', or some people may refer to them collectively as the 'mission' of the organisation.

    The purposes are usually set out in the organisation's governing document. They must accurately reflect the work of the organisation.

    To be eligible for registration, all purposes must be charitable (or ancillary to a charitable purpose).

    Need more help?

    template icon See our example charitable purposes.

    Charity subtypes

    We ask that you select the 'subtypes' with which the organisation will be registered. A 'subtype' is a charity category that reflects the purposes of the organisation.

    The ACNC Act sets out the 14 subtypes with which a charity can be registered. These include the 12 charitable purposes in the Charities Act 2013 (Cth), as well as Public Benevolent Institutions and Health Promotion Charities.

    You can select one subtype or more.

    alert icon Choosing inappropriate subtypes will delay the application. Only select the subtypes that the organisation can show it actively works towards (and are reflected in the organisation's objects or purposes as written in its governing document). Do not apply for subtypes that the organisation doesn't actively work towards.

    Applications for registration as a Public Benevolent Institution (PBI) or a Health Promotion Charity (HPC) will ask for a few more details about the planned activities of the organisation. Applications for these subtypes include a table that asks you to estimate the time and money spent on the charity's activities.

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    Activities

    We ask you to describe how the organisation’s activities work towards the subtypes that you selected.

    To complete this section, you must be ready to describe the activities that the organisation undertakes and explain how they work towards the subtypes that you selected. Do not simply restate the organisation’s purposes or objects as written in its governing document.

    Beneficiaries

    We ask you to select the people or groups that the organisation helps, or intends to help, with its main activities.

    The list of people or groups you select here will be displayed on the Charity Register. This question will provide a wide range of beneficiary groups to select from. Be as specific as you can when making your selections.

      Responsible Persons

      We ask you to provide a full list of the people responsible for governing the organisation. These people are commonly called the board members, directors, committee members or trustees.

      alert icon This is not just a request for one contact person. You must provide the details of all the Responsible Persons in the organisation. Not providing the details of all the Responsible Persons will delay the application.

      We ask for the following details of all the organisation’s Responsible Persons:

      • name
      • date of birth
      • contact details, and
      • position within the organisation.

      Check that the organisation has the number of Responsible Persons required by its governing document (or incorporating legislation).

      Ensure the Responsible Persons are suitable by checking the ASIC and ACNC registers of banned or disqualified persons.

      And make sure you have included them all in the application.

      Need more help?

      template icon See our responsible persons topic guide

      Operating locations

      We ask that you select all the places that the organisation will operate in. This covers each state and territory in Australia as well as the countries that the organisation will operate in overseas.

      If the organisation operates overseas, there will be a few extra questions to answer. These cover the way the organisation manages its overseas activities, including the way it sends funds and how it manages and monitors its activities.

      It is important to know that operating overseas is not restricted to activities on the ground in another country - it can include simply sending funds to others.

      Financial information

      We ask that you provide details of the organisation’s finances. This includes its financial year-end date and information about its current financial situation and estimated future revenue and fundraising plans.

      If the organisation's financial year-end date is not June 30, you will need to request another financial year-end date in the application, and provide a reason for the organisation using this alternative date.

      Tax concessions from the ATO

      We ask that you select the tax concessions that the organisation wants to apply for, and the date from which they will apply (if approved by the ATO). The ACNC will pass this information to the ATO for assessment. If the ATO requires any additional information, someone from the ATO will contact the organisation directly.

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      Deductible gift recipient (DGR)

      It is important to know that not all charities are eligible for DGR endorsement. There are only a select few charity types that are eligible to be endorsed as a DGR.

      We ask that you select the DGR category with which the organisation wants to be endorsed. Similar to the standard tax concessions, the ACNC will pass this information on the ATO for assessment.

      alert icon An organisation that applies for endorsement as a DGR must have a 'DGR revocation clause' in its governing document.

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      Request to have information withheld from the Charity Register

      We ask if the organisation wants to have any details not published on the Charity Register. There are only limited circumstances in which a charity can have certain pieces of information withheld from the Charity Register.

      These requests are subject to assessment and only approved in cases where the prescribed circumstance clearly applies to the charity's situation. We recommend that you read about the circumstances in which the ACNC will approve a request to withhold information from the Charity Register before making a request.

      alert icon Only the name and position of each Responsible Person is published on the Charity Register (for example, Judy Smith - Chairperson). Other information provided in the application form (for example, addresses and dates of birth) is not published on the Charity Register. Because the other information is not published on the Charity Register, do not apply to have it withheld.

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      Other information

      We give you an opportunity to provide other information to support the application (for example, a business plan, an annual report, policies and procedures or brochures for the organisation). This is optional, so you don't have to upload anything here. But if you have something that you think is essential for us in assessing the application, you can upload it.