Since my last column, the ACNC had the honour of receiving a Silver Award for distinguished achievements in reporting at the 2017 Australasian Reporting Awards.

The Silver Award came in recognition for the ACNC’s 2015-16 Annual Report.

The ACNC has always recognised and supported the charity sector’s commitment to good governance, transparency and accountability. And with this recognition from the Australasian Reporting Awards, the ACNC has demonstrated that it is equally committed to these values.

My colleague, Assistant Commissioner Murray Baird, accepted the award on behalf of the ACNC. You can read Murray’s remarks on the award here.

Reduced red tape for ACT’s charities

Last week I was in Canberra for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the ACNC and Access Canberra. I am pleased to announce that this agreement will significantly reduce red tape for registered charities in the ACT.

As of 1 July 2017, over 600 charities registered with the ACNC will no longer be required to report to the ACT Government; they will only need to report to the ACNC.

At the signing, I applauded the ACT Government’s commitment to red tape reduction and thanked them for the collaborative way they worked with the ACNC over an extended period to develop and deliver these reforms.

We recently contacted registered charities in the ACT to explain these changes in partnership with Access Canberra, and we also plan to hold a face-to-face session in Canberra soon.

You can find more information on acnc.gov.au/redtapereduction and the ACT Government website.

The ACNC will continue to work with other state and territory governments to implement similar reforms for the benefit of Australia’s registered charities and the community.

90% of charities have submitted their 2016 Annual Information Statement

Along with 31 January, the end of the financial year is a key due date in the registered charity annual reporting cycle. I was delighted to hear on Monday morning that as at 30 June, 90% of registered charities had submitted their 2016 Annual information Statement – up from 77% at the same time last year.

This is a great achievement, and is evidence of what I see regularly in my dealings with the sector - a genuine commitment to accountability and transparency.

The remaining 10% will soon receive overdue reminder notices, and these are sent to the charity’s Address For Service. For this reason, it is critical that we have an up-to-date Address For Service for your charity.

To update your Address For Service, simply log into the Charity Portal at charity.acnc.gov.au.

To help registered charities submit their Annual Information Statement, we have published a range of guidance materials, which you can access free of charge at acnc.gov.au/2016AIS.

We also recently ran a webinar on completing the 2016 Annual Information Statement. If you missed it, you can watch it on-demand on our website, at acnc.gov.au/webinars.

And of course, you can contact our friendly Advice Services team by calling 13 ACNC (13 22 62) or by email at advice@acnc.gov.au.

New guidance: crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular method of online fundraising for individuals, businesses, not-for-profits and charities.

To assist donors and charities, we have published guidance on this emerging fundraising practice.

Although crowdfunding has the potential to provide great benefits for charities and donors, there are some aspects of the practice that people need to consider before embarking on a campaign or donating to a cause.

In particular, prospective charity donors should remember that not all causes listed on crowdfunding websites come from registered charities. We urge people to always check the ACNC Charity Register and look for the Registered Charity Tick if they want to ensure they are supporting a registered charity.

If you are considering the use of crowdfunding, I encourage you to read the guide. It can be downloaded at acnc.gov.au/crowdfunding.

Double defaulter charities revoked

Charities that fail to submit an Annual Information Statement for two years are what we refer to as ‘double defaulters’.

Last week we revoked the registration of 109 charities for failing to submit their Annual Information Statements for two years.

We tried to reach these charities multiple times to remind them of their obligations. Unfortunately our letters were returned unopened, emails bounced back, and phone numbers were disconnected.

These organisations will now lose access to the Commonwealth tax concessions.

In late May we warned 118 charities that they risked revocation. Only nine charities submitted their outstanding Annual

Information Statement. This group will maintain their registration with the ACNC.

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.

Recent compliance action on two Queensland charities

Recently we finalised two compliance investigations and made the decision to revoke the charity status of two organisations based in Queensland:

Both were endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office to access Commonwealth charity tax concessions:

  • GST concession
  • Income tax exemption
  • FBT rebate, and Deductible Gift Recipient status.

They 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 individual Charity Register listing.

You can find the full list of the ACNC’s compliance activity at acnc.gov.au/compliancedecisions.

Upcoming webinar – Tuesday 18 July

The ACNC’s next free webinar will be held at midday on Tuesday 18 July.

The webinar, titled The ACNC and the ATO – charity tax concessions and endorsement, will be run jointly with our colleagues at the Australian Tax Office. It is a great chance to learn more about charity tax concessions, DGR and the relationship between the ACNC and the ATO.

You can sign up for free at acnc.gov.au/webinars.

Good wishes
Susan Pascoe AM