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 are 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.
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.
Need more help?
- Check the details of an existing ABN on the Australian Business Register's (ABR) website.
- Update or correct ABN details or apply for a new ABN.
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.
Need more help?
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
- 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.
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.)
Individuals, sole traders, government entities and partnerships are ineligible to register as charities.
Need more help?
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Need more help?
- Find out more about charity subtypes (including a list of all the available subtypes).
- Read about the requirements for registration as a Public Benevolent Institution or a Health Promotion Charity.
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.
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.
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.
This is not just a request for one contact person. You must provide the details of all the Responsible People in the organisation. Not providing the details of all the Responsible People will delay the application.
We ask for the following details of all the organisation’s Responsible People:
- date of birth
- contact details, and
- position within the organisation.
Check that the organisation has the number of Responsible People required by its governing document (or incorporating legislation).
Ensure the Responsible People 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.
We ask that you select all the places that the organisation will operate. This covers each state and territory in Australia as well as overseas. Please select carefully as this information will be displayed upon the ACNC Register and may be used to identify your charity’s responsibilities.
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 or other resources overseas
- activities that are only a minor part of your overall charity activities or involve only a small amount of money e.g. sponsoring a child overseas or supporting missionary work.
- working with, or assisting, another organisation located overseas
To find out more about operating overseas, please read our guidance.
Fundraising in South Australia
Some charities that raise funds in South Australia may be required to advise Consumer and Business Services in that State. If you select ‘South Australia’ we can assist you to make this application if required.
Charities must meet the ACNC Governance Standards to be registered and remain registered with the ACNC.
The Governance Standards are a set of core, minimum standards that deal with how charities are run (including their processes, activities and relationships) – their governance.
Charities that operate overseas (including those that send funds overseas) must also comply with the ACNC External Conduct Standards. These standards require charities to have appropriate governance and processes in place to ensure their overseas operations achieve their intended goals.
The ACNC will require additional information to demonstrate that your organisation is capable of meeting the Governance Standards and, if applicable, also the External Conduct Standards.
You will also be asked to confirm that your organisation complies with the relevant standards.
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.
Need more help?
- Read our information on charity tax concessions.
- Read the ATO’s information on tax concessions for charities and not-for-profits.
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.
An organisation that applies for endorsement as a DGR must have a 'DGR revocation clause' in its governing document.
An example revocation clause:
‘If the organisation is wound up or its endorsement as a deductible gift recipient is revoked (whichever occurs first), any surplus of the following assets shall be transferred to another organisation with similar objects, which is charitable at law, to which income tax deductible gifts can be made:
a. gifts of money or property for the principal purpose of the organisation
b. contributions made in relation to an eligible fundraising event held for the principal purpose of the organisation
c. money received by the organisation because of such gifts and contributions.’
Need more help?
- Read the ATO’s information about DGR endorsement.
- See the DGR categories listed in the ATO's DGR table.
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.
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.
Need more help?
Read about having information withheld from the Charity Register.
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.
The ACNC does not charge a fee for organisations to register as a charity.