The Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission’s (ACNC) Charity Passport is now operational. The Charity Passport is a secure online system designed to save charities from reporting the same information to multiple government agencies, and is the key to the ACNC’s ‘report once, use often’ framework.
Authorised government agencies that use the Charity Passport will have access to a wealth of information about charities, including their contact details, registration information, charitable purpose and who benefits from their work, their size, activities, responsible persons, governance documents, and enforcement outcomes.
To date, two Commonwealth agencies have tested the Charity Passport which is being deployed in two phases. The first phase uses a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) repository, where authorised government agencies can securely download the files they need, either using an FTP client or a web browser.
The second phase is scheduled for implementation at the end of 2014. It will improve integration with agencies’ IT systems, increase data currency and have additional functionality to improve the experience for agencies that use it.
Agencies that need information from charities in relation to Commonwealth grants should use the Charity Passport rather than asking the charity to provide the same information. This is outlined in the Commonwealth Grant Guidelines.
When government agencies request information, charities may direct them to the ACNC to obtain information, such as governing documents or financial reports, that they have already provided to the ACNC.
More information about the ACNC Charity Passport is available at acnc.gov.au/charitypassport.
Senate Repeal Bill inquiry
The Senate Economics Legislation Committee has concluded its inquiry into the ACNC (Repeal) (No. 1) Bill 2014 with a Government report recommending the legislation to abolish the ACNC be passed, and dissenting reports from the Labor Party and the Greens arguing for a retention of the ACNC.
The ACNC Repeal Bill was referred to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee after it was introduced in the House of Representatives in March. One hundred and fifty five submissions were received by the committee, with more than 80 per cent opposing the proposed legislation.
Should this Bill be passed in the current parliamentary sitting, it will not take effect until the enactment of a second Bill (yet to be released). The Government intends the second Bill to contain details of the proposed arrangements to replace the ACNC. This means the ACNC remains Australia’s national charity regulator and it will continue to regulate the sector and perform its legislative functions until this second Bill is passed by Parliament
You can view the Bill and the explanatory memorandum on the Parliament of Australia website, along with the Senate committee reports. The ACNC’s response to the Senate inquiry reports is available on our website.
Annual Information Statements
Don’t wait until it’s too late: File your 2013 Annual Information Statement now
The 30 June deadline for filing the 2013 Annual Information Statement is fast approaching and I encourage charities who have not submitted their statement to do so now, rather than waiting until the last minute.
It is a legal requirement that all registered charities submit an annual statement, and consistent with the ACNC regulatory approach, charities which have missed their reporting deadlines will receive final reminders prior to any penalties (under the ACNC Act) being applied.
You can submit the 2013 Annual Information Statement and read our related guidance and frequently asked questions at acnc.gov.au/2013AIS. For additional advice you call us on 13 22 62 or email email@example.com.
Where are you? Charities not in contact with the ACNC
The ACNC has a project to locate and contact several thousand charities whose mail has been returned unopened to the Commission over time. These charities were transferred from the ATO when it was established in December 2012. The ATO was not required to maintain an up-to-date database on charities once it had assessed them for charity tax status, hence the need for the ACNC to check that all listed charities are still operational.
The ACNC has employed numerous measures to find these charities, including media and sector communiques, internet searches and registry searches, working with other government agencies and sector peak bodies and most recently public notices in the metropolitan and regional papers on 14 June. But time is running out. If we do not hear from these charities before 30 June we will assume the charities are no longer operating and will begin the process to remove them from the ACNC Charity Register. This means these organisations risk losing their tax concessions if they are still operating, but have not contacted us.
We encourage all members of the public to check this list to see if you are involved with, or have knowledge of, any of these charities and to take the necessary steps to help us to ensure that all functioning charities are retained on the register.
Susan Pascoe AM
Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission
Our phone number is 13 ACNC (13 22 62) or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember to also stay in touch via our social media accounts: