An incorporated association is an organisation incorporated in a state or territory under that state’s or territory’s laws. Its structure establishes it as a legal entity separate from its individual members.
You can recognise an incorporated association by the word 'Incorporated' or the abbreviation 'Inc' after its name.
An incorporated association must meet the requirements of the state or territory in which it is incorporated. It also has ongoing responsibilities and obligations to its state or territory regulator.
Many charities registered with the ACNC are incorporated associations.
Registering an incorporated association as a charity
Requirements to register an incorporated association as a charity
In summary, to be registered as a charity, an incorporated association must:
- be not-for-profit
- have only charitable purposes that are for the public benefit
- not have a disqualifying purpose
- not be an individual, a political party or a government entity.
Requirements to remain registered as a charity
All registered charities, including incorporated associations, must comply with certain ongoing obligations to remain registered.
These include to:
- notify us of certain changes
- keep records
- report to us each year by submitting an Annual Information Statement
- comply with Governance Standards.
- comply with External Conduct Standards (if operating or sending funds outside of Australia)
Notifying us of changes includes any changes to the charitable trust’s Address For Service, its Responsible People (the committee members or board) and its governing document (the rules or constitution).
An incorporated association also has obligations to its own state or territory regulator. These obligations might include providing annual reports or keeping financial records.
Incorporated association no longer operating
If an incorporated association is registered as a charity and ceases operations, it must apply to have its charity registration revoked. Do this through the Charity Portal.
In winding up, an incorporated association must follow its rules, as well as all other legal requirements. In addition to its obligations to the ACNC, it is likely to have obligations to its state or territory regulator.