Applying to register

Where can I find some help to fill in the application form?

Our checklist is a useful resource to help you decide if you think your organisation is eligible for charity registration and to help you prepare all the information you’ll need to complete the registration form.

If after using these resources you still need more help, please contact us on 13 22 62 (13 ACNC) or at advice@acnc.gov.au.

I applied once before and my application was unsuccessful. Can I reapply?

Yes, you can re-apply. It is a good idea to address the reasons why your application was unsuccessful before you do so.

How long will it take to get my organisation registered?

This depends on the details of your application and whether we need to ask you for more information.

If your application is missing information, or we need to ask you to provide more information for us to be able to make a decision, it will take longer to process. We will work with you to ensure your application is processed as quickly as possible.

We generally process applications within 15 business days of receiving all the required information.

We recommend using the registration checklist to make sure you provide all the information we need to make a decision.

I have an event coming up and need my application done before then. Can I have my application expedited?

We assess applications in the order in which we receive them. We can’t expedite your application to meet any deadlines you have.

alert icon If you need to be registered by a certain date, we suggest you lodge your application well in advance of that date. The assessment depends on the specific details of your application, therefore it can be difficult to predict exactly how long it will take.

What happens after I apply?

Once we receive your application:

  • We will check that it is complete with all the information we need. If it is incomplete, we will ask you to provide us with the missing information.
  • It is assigned to a member of our team who assesses it. We may get in contact with you to clarify details about the organisation.
  • The team member makes a decision and lets you know of the outcome.

If your application is successful,

  • We pass on the information to the Australian Taxation Office to assess and endorse the tax concessions you applied for.

Can I edit my application after I have submitted it?

If you want to make changes after you submitted it, please tell the team member looking after your application.

Will you let me know if there are problems with my application or the organisation’s eligibility?

If there are concerns about your application or the eligibility of the organisation, the Analyst looking into your application will discuss them with you. In most cases, most concerns can be resolved.

Why did you send me an email asking me for more information?

We base our decision on the information you provide in the application form and, if required, information available on your organisation’s website or other available sources. However, occasionally, we need to ask you for more information to clarify certain details or to fill in any gaps.

It is important to remember that the more quickly you can respond to these requests, and the more comprehensive you are in your responses, the more quickly we can make a decision.

Can I withdraw my application?

Yes – just let us know. Contact the team member looking into your application directly or, if you don’t know who it is, contact us on 13 22 62 (13 ACNC) or at advice@acnc.gov.au.

Is all the information in my application published on the ACNC Charity Register?

No – only certain information about your organisation is published on the Charity Register. Read more about the information on the Charity Register.

All other information provided with your application will be securely stored on our database and will not be available to the public. We are committed to protecting confidential and sensitive charity information. Find out more about our privacy policy.

In limited circumstances you may apply to have information withheld from the Charity Register. This is subject to assessment and must meet certain criteria to be approved.

What will be the date of registration?

Generally, this will be the date the organisation began its charitable activities and was eligible for ACNC charity registration.

We can only register an organisation from the latest of these dates:

  • the organisation’s establishment date (as per its governing document)
  • the date on which the organisation’s ABN was made active
  • the date on which the organisation began its charitable purpose
  • the date on which it meets the requirements to be registered as a charity
  • 3 December 2012 (the date that the ACNC began).

You can request to backdate ACNC registration, but you will need to provide evidence that the organisation was eligible from the date you request. For more about backdating, speak to the team member looking into your application, call us on 13 22 62 or email us at advice@acnc.gov.au.

Do I need to apply to the ATO for tax concessions?

If you applied for charity tax concessions in your ACNC registration application, we will pass the information to the ATO. You don’t need to apply separately.

The ATO decides if your organisation is entitled to charity tax concessions and will notify you of the decision or if you need to provide more information.

Find out more about charity tax concessions.

Will you let me know of the outcome of my application?

Yes – we will contact you to let you know of the outcome whether it is successful or unsuccessful.

If it is successful, we will contact you and send you a confirmation email with:

  • a password to log in to the ACNC Charity Portal (where you can download a registration certificate), and
  • information about being a registered charity, including the obligations your charity has to the ACNC

If it is unsuccessful, we will let you know of our decision in writing with an explanation for the decision. You can ask to have the decision reviewed if you disagree with it. Read more about the process for reviewing decisions.

Do I have a charity registration number or identifier?

There is no registered charity number. Your charity’s Australian Business Number (ABN) will be the unique identifier for ACNC registration. Use the ABN or your charity's name to search for your charity's entry on the Charity Register once it is registered.

How can I show that my charity is registered?

You can download and use the Registered Charity Tick to show the public that your charity is registered.

You can also use the following statement on public documents (such as letterhead, emails and a website):

  • [charity name] (ABN: [ABN]) is registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

It is important to note, however, that your charity cannot use the ACNC’s logo when promoting its registration.

What do I need to do now that my charity is registered?

Once your charity is registered it must:

  • Keep charity status
    Your charity must maintain its eligibility to be registered by remaining not-for-profit, pursuing its charitable purpose and complying with the ACNC Act.
  • Meet the ACNC Governance Standards
    These are minimum standards for how your charity should be run.
  • Keep records
    Your charity must keep accurate records of its operations and finances.
  • Report annually
    Your charity must submit an Annual Information Statement every year.
  • Notify ACNC
    Your charity must notify the ACNC of certain changes to its details, personnel and operations.

How do I change my charity’s details?

Log in to the Charity Portal to make changes to your charity’s details.

Who should I contact with questions about my charity’s obligations?

Once your charity is registered, please contact our Advice Services team with any questions about obligations for registered charities – or for any other queries you have. You can contact them on 13 22 62 (13 ACNC) or at advice@acnc.gov.au.