The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has announced that 6000 ‘double defaulter’ charities are at risk of losing registration and access to Commonwealth charity tax concessions for failing to meet their reporting obligations for two consecutive years.
The announcement follows the revocation of over 1300 double defaulter charities at the end of March. The ACNC believes that most of these charities had in fact ceased operation, but had not notified either the ACNC or the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) of this change.
ACNC Commissioner, Susan Pascoe AM, said that the charities were required to complete an Annual Information Statement for the 2013 and 2014 years, and had not done so following an extensive publicity campaign as well as multiple reminders.
“Registered charities that have not lodged their Annual Information Statements for two consecutive years will have their charity status revoked,” Ms Pascoe said.
“We have made numerous attempts to contact these charities and have sent them multiple reminders over the past two years. We have also advertised in local press and ran 36 face-to-face sessions across 32 cities and regional centres.
“The ACNC is here to help charities meet their obligations. Any charities that still require assistance should contact us.”
Ms Pascoe said that many of these charities may no longer be operating, but others may be deliberately non-complying.
“We recognise that there has been a high level of uncertainty around the ACNC’s future. It may be that many charities have thought that they would wait and see what happened,” Ms Pascoe said.
“If charities wish to remain registered with the ACNC and keep their Commonwealth charity tax concessions, I strongly encourage them to submit their outstanding Annual Information Statements.
“We have extended the due date for these charities a number of times, and there will be no further extensions. If double defaulter charities do not file within 28 days, they will have their charity status revoked.
"The vast majority of Australia’s registered charities have successfully completed their annual reporting and have an up-to-date entry on the ACNC Charity Register.
“As well as being a legislative requirement, submitting an Annual Information Statement each year informs the public of the excellent work charities are doing in the community,” Ms Pascoe said.
“We publish the information charities provide via the Annual Information Statement on the Charity Register, which has been searched over half-a-million times by the public.”
Ms Pascoe said that revoking double defaulter charities is part of the ongoing work to build Australia’s first national Charity Register.
“Since its establishment in December 2012, the ACNC has removed or revoked over 7 000 charities as part of our efforts to clean up the Charity Register and provide the public access to a reliable and accurate Charity Register.
“The Charity Register is available at acnc.gov.au/findacharity and we encourage members of the public wanting to make a donation to use it to find legitimate registered charities.”
Approximately 3 000 registered charities have already received notices informing them that they will lose their charity status for failing to complete their reporting for two consecutive years. A further 3,000 charities will be issued with notices later in April.
Ms Pascoe stated that charities that have received a notice can avoid revocation by completing their overdue reporting.
“Charities have 28 days from the date of the notice to lodge their outstanding reports.
“Charities can submit their 2013 and 2014 Annual Information Statement by logging into the Charity Portal at charity.acnc.gov.au.
“The 2014 Annual Information Statement will be pre-populated with information from the 2013 Annual Information Statement, making it quick and easy to complete. If charities are unable to complete the Annual Information Statement online, please contact us and we will provide an alternative method.”
For help and support, charities can contact the ACNC on 13 ACNC (13 22 62) or email email@example.com.
For the full list of charities facing revocation, visit acnc.gov.au/doubledefaulters.
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