Australian of the Year Awards

It was great to see the recipients of the Australian of the Year Awards on Australia Day. These awards are an important recognition of the great contributions of individuals to our community.

It was wonderful to see that those on this year’s list of award recipients are all involved with registered charities. It is a timely reminder of the great work that charities are doing in our communities and the dedicated work of those involved.

Congratulations to all the award recipients.

Submit the 2015 Annual Information Statement

The deadline for the 215 Annual Information Statement (AIS) for many charities is just a few days away. For charities that operate on a regular financial year reporting period (July1 –June 30), the deadline is 31 January 2016. (This is an extension from the 31 December deadline – six months after the end of the reporting period.) If your charity is one of the many that are required to submit by 31 January 2016 and haven’t done so, I urge you to get online and submit it soon. Leaving it to the last minute may result in delays when you try to submit. You can log in and begin your 2015 AIS in the Charity Portal at charity.acnc.gov.au.

If you need help with the 2015 AIS, there is a comprehensive guide and a useful worksheet available online. The guide provides an overview of the AIS and assistance for each question. The worksheet provides a space for you to work through your answers on paper in preparation for completing the online form. Both can be found at acnc.gov.au/2015AIS.

Submitting an AIS is a requirement of being registered as a charity, and the ACNC will be promptly chasing those that fail to submit theirs on time. Charities that do not submit an AIS for two years will face significant risk of losing their registration and, consequently, their access to charity tax concessions. As national regulator we have a responsibility to provide accurate and up-to-date information on the Charity Register, and timely completion of Annual Information Statements is an important part of this.

Finally, a crucial point to remember: when completing the Annual Information Statement, be sure that the financial information you provide is correct. In the 2014 AIS, we found that a number of charities submitted their statements with errors in their financial information. These charities were notified of the errors and subsequently required to re-submit their statements with corrected information. To avoid having to correct and re-submit your statement, it is important to make sure your financial information is accurate. You can read about the errors in last year’s AIS in our frequently asked questions at acnc.gov.au/2014AISfinancialerrors.

Special webinar – Australian Charities Report 2014

There is still time to register for tomorrow’s special webinar looking at the Australian Charities Report 2014 and its data. This webinar is our first of 2016.

It will be co-hosted by a special guest, the CEO of the Centre for Social Impact at UNSW, Dr Andrew Young. Dr Young was the lead researcher for the Australian Charities Report 2014, and will guide you through the report’s interactive website and help interpret the data.

This is a fantastic opportunity to take a unique look at the charity sector. The Australian Charities Report 2014 was the first research to include the financial information of Australia’s charities and the data will provide some interesting insights.

You can register for this webinar, and other upcoming webinars, at acnc.gov.au/webinars. You can also catch up on previous webinars and download transcripts from this page.

Charities and money

Careful management of finances is an important responsibility of a charity board, and we were pleased to release a publication last week that provides guidance on this crucial aspect of management.

Australians generally have high expectations of the way charities use their resources, and good financial management practice is an important way charities can meet these expectations.

This new guide, Managing charity money, provides insights into good financial management practice, focusing on practical steps for a board to take to ensure that its charity’s finances are being managed well, used appropriately, and protected from misuse. Furthermore, it also explains the obligations that a charity has to the ACNC regarding finances.

If you are on the board of a charity, I encourage you to read the guide. It can be downloaded at acnc.gov.au/charitiesandmoney.

Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement – Commercially Sensitive Information

Commissioner’s Interpretation Statements (CIS) work to provide guidance for ACNC staff, charity representatives, and the public on particular aspects of charity law. We released a new statement this week on Commercially Sensitive Information.

The purpose of this CIS is to provide guidance on withholding or removing information from the ACNC Register for reasons of commercial sensitivity. It sets out the ACNC’s approach to this provision for withholding information and uses hypothetical examples to give a broad indication of how the approach will work in practice.

Download the Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement: Commercially Sensitive Information.

Stakeholder Engagement Framework

We have just published our latest Stakeholder Engagement Framework which sets out our approach to the way we interact with charities.

Understanding charities and supporting them is fundamental to the way the ACNC operates, and we aim to be open and innovative in the way we communicate with and seek feedback from charities.

The Stakeholder Engagement Framework outlines:

  • our reasons for stakeholder engagement
  • the values and principles that underpin our approach
  • the scope of this work, and
  • our approach to undertaking consultation with stakeholders.

The framework demonstrates that ACNC’s commitment to meaningful communication with the charity sector. As a regulator, it is important that we support the sector and consult broadly on important issues so as to ensure its sustainability.

You can read our Stakeholder Engagement Framework at acnc.gov.au/stakeholderengagement.

Good wishes,

Susan Pascoe AM
Commissioner

Contact us

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

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