The national charity regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), is contacting thousands of charities that have made significant errors in their financial reporting.
The charities were highlighted as having made significant errors in their 2014 Annual Information Statements or annual financial reports, following a systematic review of the data.
The ACNC is urging the charities to correct the errors as soon as possible to ensure the information available to the public on the Charity Register is up-to-date.
ACNC Commissioner, Susan Pascoe AM said it was important that charities take action immediately and rectify any errors.
"Charities will not be penalised for making errors at this point in time," Ms Pascoe said.
"However, it is important that any mistakes are corrected as quickly as possible. Charities have an ongoing obligation under the ACNC Act to correctly report each year to remain registered with the ACNC."
As part of the 2014 Annual Information Statement, all charities were required to provide financial information for the first time, with medium and large charities also providing separate annual financial reports.
Common mistakes included miscalculating totals and errors stemming from charities rounding financial figures to the nearest thousand.
To help identify errors in the data, the ACNC has partnered with the Centre for Social Impact(CSI) at the University of New South Wales, who will also produce the 2014 Charities Report.
The 2014 Charities Report, which will be released later this year, will include the first ever analysis of Australian charity financial information.
Charities identified as having made significant errors will receive an email from CSI and the ACNC asking them to review and correct the financial information they have reported.
Commissioner Pascoe encouraged charities to visit the ACNC website or contact the ACNC’s Advice Services team if they needed any assistance when reporting.
“The ACNC provides a range of education and guidance to support charities in their reporting obligations.
“Earlier this year, the ACNC published a list of common reporting errors. Charities are being encouraged to read these tips before reporting to ensure they get their financial reporting correct,” Ms Pascoe said.
Charities’ financial information is published on the publicly available ACNC Charity Register, which has received over a million views to date.
“The Charity Register receives thousands of visits every week by members of the public who want to donate or volunteer, so it is important that the information charities provide is correct,” Ms Pascoe said.
“Submitting a complete and correct Annual Information Statement ensures that the Charity Register contains reliable information about your charity.
“This helps to create a Charity Register that is up-to-date, transparent and works to support both the sector and the community.”