The ACNC is a hive of activity as we prepare for the launch of the improved ACNC website this month, and while we are pleased with the progress of the project, I know that some charities are disappointed that the 2018 Annual Information Statement has not yet been made available.

The 2018 Annual Information Statement will be available in late October 2018, after the launch of the new ACNC website and Charity Portal.

Due to the delayed release of the Annual Information Statement, I have exercised my discretion to extend the due date. All charities that have a due date between 31 December 2018 and 28 February 2019 now have until 31 March 2019 to submit.

I hope this will allow all charities ample time to complete their annual reporting requirements. However, despite the extension I would encourage all charities to submit as early as possible.

More information about the deadline extension is available on the ACNC website, and charities will be notified via email when the 2018 Annual Information Statement is available to complete.

New edition of ACNC Quarterly now available

The September 2018 edition of ACNC Quarterly is now available.

Topics covered in this edition include the recent red tape reduction announcement benefitting charities registered as incorporated associations in New South Wales, the recommendations from the ACNC legislative review, the National Redress Scheme and more.

This issue also includes an introduction to registered charity Search Dogs Sydney, who share their story and discuss the rewards of charity work and how they navigated the process of registering with the ACNC.

To read the full newsletter, visit acnc.gov.au/quarterly.

US reduces red tape for charities

In news from overseas, I was delighted to see that charities and not-for-profits in the United States are set to benefit from reduced red tape through the introduction of a single national charity registration system.

Currently, there are 39 US states that require charities to register before conducting any fundraising activity – creating significant administrative burdens for charities trying to navigate their obligations. The new State Charity Registration Portal allows US not-for-profits to comply with all states’ registration and annual filing requirements in a single place.

I’d like to extend my congratulations to all involved in this important streamlining project, which will undoubtedly increase transparency and save time for thousands of community organisations.

Charity revoked after ACNC compliance action

The ACNC has recently taken compliance action against a charity, revoking the charity status of The Trustee For Echo-elderly Citizens Help Organisation Inc. (ABN: 96154991088).

The organisation was endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office to access Commonwealth charity tax concessions including GST concessions, and was also endorsed as a deductible gift recipient.

This charity has now lost access to these Commonwealth charity tax concessions.

We are prevented from disclosing further details due to secrecy provisions in the ACNC Act. However, we publish instances where we use our formal powers, including revocation, on the ACNC Charity Register and at acnc.gov.au/compliancedecisions.

Every month we receive around 100 concerns about charities, many of which are submitted by members of the public. If you have concerns about a registered charity, you can raise them formally by visiting acnc.gov.au/charityconcern, or by calling 13 ACNC (13 22 62).

Industry awards affecting charities

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has recently published a short article explaining how industry awards apply to employees soliciting donations on behalf of a charity.

Following a decision of a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission earlier this year, the Fair Work Ombudsman has changed its view on certain issues relating to the Miscellaneous Award.

Based on the principles in the Fair Work Commission decision, the FWO no longer considers some employees soliciting donations for charities in person, and who aren’t covered by an industry or occupation-based award, to be award free.

Rather, the FWO considers that these employees may be covered by the Miscellaneous Award.

If your charity is an active fundraiser, this decision may affect you.

I recommend that you read the article, Award coverage for employees soliciting donations for charities, on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

You can also contact the FWO for personalised assistance at fairwork.gov.au/contact-us.

Two ACNC webinars remaining in 2018

There are just two free ACNC webinars remaining in 2018.

The next webinar, to be held on Tuesday 23 October, will focus on good practice in fundraising, and provide advice for charities to ensure their fundraising is both effective and best practice.

The final webinar, scheduled for Tuesday 20 November will discuss running a charity efficiently and effectively, providing information about collaboration and mergers in the charity sector.

To sign up for the upcoming webinars, or to access any webinars you have missed throughout the year, visit the ACNC website at acnc.gov.au/webinars.

Best wishes,

The Hon Dr Gary Johns