Record number of Annual Information Statement submissions

I would like to start by thanking the 20,000 charities who have already completed their 2013 Annual Information Statement (AIS) ahead of time. These have all been published on the ACNC’s Charity Register. A further 4,000 charities have their AIS in progress. Out of about 30,000 charities that have to file by 31 March this is impressive. This supports our experience of the sector’s willingness to meet their regulatory obligations, resulting in greater transparency and accountability.

If your charity reports on a standard financial year (1 July – 30 June) and you have not yet done your AIS, please do so by 31 March 2014. It is a simple online process and is taking charities on average no more than 20 minutes to complete. Once this year’s is done, we will pre-populate any future AIS returns with this information. By completing your AIS, not only are you providing published information to the public, you are also giving the ACNC the core information for your charity’s passport which we can then provide to other Government agencies (‘report once use often’).

Our Advice Services team are here to help you should you have any difficulties.

The last few weeks have been particularly busy as we have been assisting lots of charities to lodge their 2013 AIS and answer questions about the ACNC’s legislation.

ACNC legislation update

You may have seen in the media that the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (Repeal) (No. 1) Bill 2014 (Cth) was presented to the House of Representatives last week. At this time, this Bill is yet to be debated. 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 arrangements replacing the ACNC. The Explanatory memorandum states that the second Bill will be tabled in the Winter sitting (June-July). We will continue to keep you updated.

You can view the Bill and the explanatory memorandum on the Parliament of Australia website.

Your current obligations

As we have been advising, charities must submit their AIS within the timeframes required by the ACNC Act.

Consistent with the ACNC regulatory approach, charities who have missed their reporting deadlines will receive final reminders prior to any penalties being applied.

You can submit your charity’s Annual Information Statement and read guidance on how to complete your statement on our website. If you have further questions about the Annual Information Statement, please contact us.

It is worth emphasising that the information from the 2013 Annual Information Statement will help build an accurate and up to date national charity register freely available to the Australian community. The register and our other work helps us achieve our statutory objects to improve transparency in the charitable sector, reduce red tape for charities, and promote a robust and vibrant not-for-profit sector.

Contact details on the ACNC Register

The ACNC Register contains important information about all registered charities. There are limited circumstances where the ACNC may withhold information from the Register, for example where this presents a risk to public safety, or is commercially sensitive and harmful.

In the coming months, many charities will have additional details (including their addresses) published on the ACNC Register, unless they have applied to have them withheld.

Previously, information that had not been verified by charities was not visible on the ACNC Register. This was to give charities the opportunity to give us up-to-date details and to apply for information to be withheld. The details are being published in a phased approach, to allow identified high-risk charities more time to apply for their information to be withheld.

In the coming months, we will progressively publish this information on the Register based on how likely the information meets the criteria for withholding it. This is consistent with the requirements of ACNC law.

The ACNC wants to make sure that charities who work with people at risk (and any others that meet the criteria) apply to withhold their information before this process begins. For charities that have already verified their details with us, the information is published on Register.

More information on withholding information from the ACNC Register and instructions on how to apply is available on our website

Red tape in the charity sector: What is your experience?

We are calling on charities to share their experience of red tape in the sector through an online survey.

The survey comprises 17 questions and it takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. It has been tested with selected charities and their feedback has been incorporated.

The survey, conducted by Ernst and Young, is part of a wider research project to measure the baseline of red tape imposed on the sector and to identify target areas for red tape reduction, with markers for success.

The research is being undertaken as a direct response to recommendations from the sector confirmed at the Measuring and Reducing Red Tape in the Not-for-profit Sector forum, held in December 2013.

In accordance with the ACNC’s commitment to providing information and data back to the sector, de-identified data obtained from the survey will be published and made publicly available on data.gov.au. All survey responses will be treated confidentially.

The survey will close on Friday 11 April 2014. Complete the survey online at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ACNCRedTapeSurvey.

Contact us

Our phone number is 13 ACNC (13 22 62) or you can email us at advice@acnc.gov.au.

Remember to also stay in touch via our social media accounts: