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The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission welcomes an Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) decision that endorses the ACNC’s approach to determining charities’ eligibility for registration as a public benevolent institution (PBI).

Charities with the PBI subtype receive tax concessions administered by the Australian Taxation Office and may be endorsed as Deductible Gift Recipients. This, in turn, means that donations to them are tax deductible.

Women’s Life Centre Inc has been a registered charity since 1 July 2017 under two other subtypes − advancing health and advancing social or public welfare. Women’s Life Centre remains a registered charity, and is able to access some of the tax concessions that are available to registered charities.

In December 2018, the ACNC declined to also register Women's Life Centre as a PBI. Women’s Life Centre sought a review of ACNC’s decision by the AAT. Last week the AAT affirmed the ACNC’s decision to refuse Women’s Life Centre’s PBI application.

ACNC Assistant Commissioner General Counsel, Anna Longley, welcomed the ruling.

“While all registered charities help our community in one way or another, it was central to the AAT’s decision that services provided by charities registered as a PBI need to be targeted towards those people in our community experiencing serious poverty, distress or misfortune, and for whom the relief provided by a PBI may be vital. Women’s Life Centre continues to be registered as a charity under two other subtypes,” Ms Longley said.

Women’s Life Centre has 28 days to appeal the AAT’s decision.

There are more than 58,000 charities on the ACNC Charity Register, and approximately 13,800 are public benevolent institutions. The ACNC Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement on public benevolent institutions provides guidance on the meaning and scope of the PBI charity subtype.