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ACNC Commissioner Sue Woodward AM has welcomed the opportunity for the definition of Public Benevolent Institution to be tested in the Federal Court of Australia.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) recently affirmed an ACNC decision to refuse PBI status to the charity, Equality Australia.

The charity is registered under a different subtype – advancing public debate – and is appealing the AAT ruling in the Federal Court of Australia. A hearing date is yet to be set.

ACNC Commissioner Sue Woodward AM said the definition of PBI is important.

"We welcome the opportunity for this issue to be tested in the Federal Court,” Ms Woodward said.

“As we raised in our submission to the Productivity Commission inquiry into Philanthropy, the term ‘Public Benevolent Institution’ is not defined in legislation and there remains an opportunity for clarification of the term.

“This is a challenge for charities applying for this subtype and the associated benefits, and for us as the regulator in deciding if a charity meets the description of a PBI.

"Tax benefits and concessions assist charities in their fundraising efforts, but those benefits are not assigned to all types of charities. The appeal is an opportunity for further clarification of the law.”