While I enjoyed a relaxing holiday abroad, work at the ACNC continued in earnest.
Red tape reduction
Firstly, my thanks and congratulations to all involved in the passage of legislation that will significantly reduce red tape for charities in both South Australia and Tasmania. Acting Commissioner David Locke announced the legislative changes in his column last fortnight, you can read more about it at acnc.gov.au/commissionerscolumn.
Following the Tasmanian announcement, Dale Webster (Director of Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading Tasmania) and I will be meeting with local charities in Hobart on 12 July 2016.We will be discussing reporting requirements, red tape reduction initiatives and what the legislative changes mean for Tasmanian charities.
We're currently at capacity for the event, however we are trying to secure a bigger venue. To register your interest visit tasmaniancharityforum.eventbrite.com.au, you will get an email notification if more seats become available.
Earlier this week the ACNC announced that four organisations lost their charity status following investigations into their operations and activities.
The organisations are:
- Newcastle Night Angels Homeless Care Incorporated (ABN 59 952 260 428)
- St Andrews Children Neighbourhood Centre Inc (ABN 91 273 976 518)
- Balranald Aboriginal Health Service Incorporated (ABN 17 865 394 894)
- Xin Yi Dai Inc (ABN 56 850 637 447)
All four organisations will now lose their entitlement to access Commonwealth charity tax concessions.
As I said in the media release, the ACNC’s approach to compliance always starts with education and guidance, however public trust and confidence in Australia’s charitable sector is paramount. When we find serious mismanagement or deliberate breaches of the ACNC Act we will revoke charity status.
You can read the full media release at acnc.gov.au/mediareleases.
You can also find a record of all ACNC compliance activity at acnc.gov.au/compliancedecisions.
Charities at risk
In addition to the four organisations mentioned above, approximately 2,000 registered charities risk losing their charity status and access to Commonwealth charity tax concessions.
These charities are just days away from becoming what we refer to as ‘double defaulters’, meaning they have failed to lodge two Annual Information Statements. Submitting an Annual Information Statement to the ACNC each year is a legislative requirement of maintaining charity status.
We have published the list of potential double defaulters at acnc.gov.au/doubledefaulters. Please take a moment to review the list, and if you are involved with one of the charities, please contact the ACNC immediately.
I am also calling on 16,000 registered charities to submit their 2015 Annual Information Statement by the 30 June due date. This group are not at immediate risk of revocation, however they have just over a week to provide their Annual Information Statement on time.
The information that charities provide in their Annual Information Statement is published on the Charity Register, giving the public an insight into the excellent work the charity is doing in the community.
The public are increasingly using the information on the Charity Register to make informed giving decisions, so it is important that charities are keeping their Charity Register listing up to date.
Long-time readers of this column will recall that in the second half of 2014 we embarked on a nation-wide series of sector seminars that we called ‘Ask ACNC’.
The name reflected the nature of the sessions – an opportunity to meet with representatives of the ACNC face-to-face to learn more about your charity’s obligations and the services we provide.
In 2014 we held 36 sessions in 32 locations in metropolitan and regional areas.
In the second half of 2016 we will again hit the road, with sessions scheduled in over 20 regional and metropolitan locations across Australia. Ask ACNC 2016 will cover reporting, issues affecting the sector and will for the first time provide free training in basic financial management for charities.
The sessions, including the basic financial management training, are free to attend.
Details about exact locations and dates will be published on our website in the coming weeks at acnc.gov.au/askacnc. As subscribers to this column you will be one of the first to hear when we bed down dates and locations, however if your colleagues would also like to be in the know, encourage them to sign up to our email alerts at acnc.gov.au/signup.
New resource for community sector
I was pleased to see an announcement by our colleagues at Justice Connect earlier this week regarding the launch of their new national app, which will provide a vital legal advice to not-for-profits, charities and other community groups.
The app instantly provides answers to common legal questions, saving not-for-profit groups significant time and money.
This is yet another excellent free initiative from Justice Connect, who also recently launched the national Not-for-profit Law Information Hub.Good wishes,
Susan Pascoe AMCommissioner
Our phone number is 13 ACNC (13 22 62) or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org