Welcome back, I hope you had a safe and relaxing Christmas and New Year break.

Here at the ACNC we will continue to focus this year on reducing red tape for charities, improving the Charity Register, producing guidance to support people running charities, and investigating serious concerns about misconduct.

We all want to see healthy, trusted charities making a positive difference in their communities. I look forward to working closely with the sector in 2017.

2016 Annual Information Statement

The New Year brings with it a major milestone for the majority of registered charities. On 31 January 2017, over 33,000 registered charities will be required to submit their 2016 Annual Information Statement.

Just over 40% of these charities have already submitted their Annual Information Statement, and I am grateful to them for filing early. The community and donors now have access to up to date information on those charities that have filed.

The remaining 60% now only have 20 days to do so. Please do not leave it to the last minute as our phones get very busy, and our IT systems are slower when there is very heavy traffic.

To maintain charity status it is a legal requirement to submit an Annual Information Statement. For medium and large charities a separate annual financial report is also required.

The Charity Register is now being used widely by donors and the public. If your charity is not up to date with its Annual Information Statement, this may be seen as a sign of poor governance.

To help registered charities submit their Annual Information Statement, we have published a range of guidance materials, which you can access free of charge at acnc.gov.au/2016AIS.

You can also contact our friendly Advice Services team by calling 13 ACNC (13 22 62) or by email at advice@acnc.gov.au.

I encourage all charities that have not done so to submit their 2016 Annual Information Statement now, and if you need assistance, please contact us.

Australian Charities Report – coming to a capital city near you

I was proud to launch the 2015 edition of the Australian Charities Report in Sydney in December last year. You can find the full report, and the interactive data cube (which allows users to create their own reports), at australiancharities.acnc.gov.au.

To share the key findings with the sector, we will soon be hosting a small series of events. Unlike our Ask ACNC sessions, which visited 25 cities and regional centres in 2016, we will only be visiting capital cities this time.

Each session will feature an introduction from an ACNC Commissioner, the detailed findings from a member of the Centre for Social Impact research team, and insights from a member of the not-for-profit sector.

We are still locking in times, dates, and locations, however in the meantime you can express your interest by emailing us at communications@acnc.gov.au.

Places will be limited, so please ensure join our mailing list so we can let you know as soon as tickets become available.

Registered Charity Tick

Registration with the ACNC brings with it credibility, trust, and shows the public and donors a commitment to transparency and accountability.

While Charity Register searches have increased each year since the ACNC was established in December 2012, registered charities have repeatedly asked us for a way to visually represent their charity status.

Enter the Tick of Charity Registration, or Registered Charity Tick for short.

We launched the Registered Charity Tick in December last year, and over 4,000 registered charities have already logged into the Charity Portal to download their copy.

Over the Christmas and New Year period we promoted the Registered Charity Tick to the public via social media and internet advertising. We explained what the Registered Charity Tick means, who can use it, and where the public can go for further information. We will continue to promote the Registered Charity Tick throughout 2017.

Over time, we hope that the Registered Charity Tick will become synonymous with well-governed, well-run, transparent and accountable registered charities, which will of course help those charities displaying the Tick seek support from the public.

For more information about the Registered Charity Tick, visit acnc.gov.au/registeredcharitytick.

Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement on PBI

Late last year we published a Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement to help the sector better understand our view of the law as it relates to Public Benevolent Institutions (PBI).

Public Benevolent Institutions are a particular type of charity set up to help relieve poverty, sickness, disadvantage and suffering.

Prior to finalising and publishing the Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement, we consulted with the public, charities, and with professional advisers.

The statement is binding on ACNC staff during the decision-making process, so I highly recommend that charities and professional advisers take a moment to read the statement if they have, or are interested in, PBI status.

For more, read our media release (which links to the full Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement) at acnc.gov.au/mediareleases.

Good wishes
Susan Pascoe AM