Last week I was both surprised and delighted to be announced as the Influencer of the Year at the inaugural Third Sector Awards.

At the ceremony, I noted that awards of this nature are a reflection of the hard work and dedication of many - particularly my colleagues at the ACNC, and I represented them with great pride.

The Third Sector Awards is a fantastic initiative that recognises the wonderful work of many NFP organisations and volunteers. My congratulations to all of the winners and runners up.

You can find the full list of award recipients here.

Double defaulter charities revoked

We have revoked the registration of almost 90 double defaulter charities – those who have failed to submit two Annual Information Statements. These organisations will now lose access to Commonwealth tax concessions.

We attempted to reach these charities multiple times to remind them of their obligations, and we sent a final warning notice in August. As well as sending numerous email or postal reminders to these charities, we worked with the relevant peak bodies to get the message out, particularly to those organisations who may have changed their contact details without informing us.

Of the 190 charities warned in late August, more than half submitted their outstanding Annual Information Statement. This group will maintain their registration with the ACNC and retain access to Commonwealth tax concessions.

It is likely that many of the revoked charities have simply closed or wound up without notifying us. However, we wanted to offer those charities that are still operating every opportunity to maintain their registration with the ACNC.

The list of registered charities that have been revoked can be found at acnc.gov.au/doubledefaulters.

Reduced red tape for charities reporting to a state/territory regulator

In the effort to continue to streamline reporting for registered charities, I have exercised my discretion to accept annual financial reports lodged with some state or territory regulators for the 2017 financial year.

This will save registered charities that are facing duplicative reporting obligations significant time and resources.

You can read more about submitting the 2017 Annual Information Statement at acnc.gov.au/2017AIS, and other transitional reporting requirements and initiatives at acnc.gov.au/transitionalreporting.

2017 Annual Information Statement due date changes

Extension for charities that use a standard 1 July to 30 June financial year

I have also used my discretion to extend the 2017 Annual Information Statement due date for charities that use a standard 1 July to 30 June reporting period. The due date is now 31 January 2018, as opposed to 31 December 2017. This provides a month extension to take account of the ACNC's closure during the Christmas and New Year period.

Extension for ancillary funds

And finally, for charitable ancillary funds with a reporting period ending 30 June 2017, I have used my discretion to extend the 2017 Annual Information Statement due date to 28 February 2018.

For those ancillary funds with an approved Substituted Accounting Period, the 2017 Annual Information Statement due date has been extended to the 15th day of the 7th month after the close of the Substituted Accounting Period date.

That means if your ancillary fund’s approved Substituted Accounting Period is 1 January to 31 December, then your 2017 Annual Information Statement would be due on 15 July 2018.

From 2018 onwards, the due date of the Annual Information Statement for charitable ancillary funds will be six months from the end of the reporting period. But don’t worry, as a subscriber to this column you will receive plenty of notice ahead of that change.

Download your Registered Charity Tick today

I’m pleased to see that 10,000 registered charities have downloaded the Registered Charity Tick since its release in December 2016.

The Registered Charity Tick is your way of showing donors and the public, at a glance, that your organisation is a registered charity and complies with the ACNC’s governance standards.

If you would like to download your Registered Charity Tick, read the terms and conditions at acnc.gov.au/registeredcharitytick to see if you’re eligible.

Recent compliance action

We recently revoked the charity status of Community Work Pty Limited (ABN 68098501752), commonly referred to as Guardian Youth Care.

The organisation was endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office to access the following Commonwealth charity tax concessions:

  • GST concession
  • Income tax exemption, and
  • FBT rebate.

Community Work Pty Limited will now lose 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 Charity Register and at acnc.gov.au/compliancedecisions.

New ACNC podcast

This week I was pleased to be the guest on the seventh episode of our podcast, ACNC Charity Chat. In this episode, Matthew and I discuss the importance of investing in charity boards. Training and education are important, but investment doesn’t always have to cost money - there are plenty of free resources available online.

You can subscribe to ACNC Charity Chat on iTunes, or listen on our website at acnc.gov.au/podcast.

Upcoming webinar – Tuesday 19 September

Our next free webinar, Welcome to the Board, will be held on Tuesday 19 September, at 12pm AEST.

The webinar is designed specifically for new charity board members. It will explore the responsibilities and duties of charity board members, and provide practical tips on maintaining good governance in your organisation.

If you have missed one of our recent webinars, for example our guide to avoiding charity pitfalls, don’t worry: you can watch them on-demand on our website. Find the recordings of our past webinars and sign up for future webinars, including Welcome to the Board, at acnc.gov.au/webinars.

GrantConnect

Government grant funding is spread across many programs and government departments. Until recently, the process for searching and applying for the right grant was challenging.

To streamline and centralise government grants, the Australian Government has developed GrantConnect, a whole-of-government grants information system.

GrantConnect is free to use, and links individuals and organisations to relevant grant opportunities.

You can find more information about GrantConnect at grants.gov.au.

Good wishes
Susan Pascoe AM