Welcome back, I hope you all had a safe and relaxing holiday break.

The ACNC team have returned after a well-earned rest, and are currently working through enquiries and applications received over the break. We would like to thank you for your patience and understanding.

A new year brings new opportunities and challenges for all. The ACNC will prioritise a few key projects in 2019, including continuing to improve the ACNC website and Charity Register, clarifying the ACNC’s second object and more.

I look forward to sharing updates on these projects with you throughout the year.

2018 Annual Information Statement due date extended

A new calendar year often prompts charities to submit their Annual Information Statement.

As Commissioner of the ACNC, I have exercised my discretion to offer an extension to the due date of the 2018 Annual Information Statement. I have decided that due to the significant changes to our IT systems, charities may need additional assistance and support.

Charities with a reporting period that ended on either 30 June, 31 July or 31 August 2018 now have until 31 March 2019 to complete their reporting.

Over 5,000 charities have already submitted their 2018 Annual Information Statement. This information is now being displayed on the ACNC Charity Register and demonstrates the charity’s commitment to transparency and accountability.

Charities can submit their 2018 Annual Information Statement through the ACNC Charity Portal. More information about accessing the new and improved ACNC Charity Portal is available at acnc.gov.au/charityportal.

If you require assistance with completing your 2018 Annual Information Statement, a helpful guide and checklist are available online at acnc.gov.au/2018AIS.

2018 Bulk/Group Annual Information Statement

Some charities choose to report as a group or in bulk. This is one of the red tape reduction initiatives we offer.

On 5 December 2018, we emailed charities that report in bulk or as part of a group to notify them that the Annual Information Statement is now available to download. As stated above, I have exercised my discretion to provide an extension – and this applies to bulk and group reporters.

Charities that report in bulk or are part of an approved ACNC group that have a due date between 31 December 2018 and 28 February 2019 now have until 31 March 2019 to submit.

If your charity is a bulk lodger or reports as part of a group, and you have not received an email from the ACNC, please email us at reporting@acnc.gov.au for assistance.

Recent compliance action

In December 2018, the ACNC revoked the charity status of two organisations following compliance investigations.

Diwan Al Dawla (ABN: 99761464044) and Global Crisis Aid (ABN: 28165468333) both lost access to Commonwealth charity tax concessions including goods and services tax (GST) concessions, income tax exemptions and FBT rebates.

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 where we revoke a charity's registration – on the Charity Register and at acnc.gov.au/compliancedecisions.

Each month we receive around 150 concerns about charities, many of which are submitted by members of the public. If you have concerns about a registered charity, you can let us know via the ACNC website.

ACNC Regulatory Approach Statement updated

The ACNC has recently updated its Regulatory Approach Statement, which explains how we regulate charities, and helps ACNC staff make appropriate and consistent decisions.

The Statement has been restructured and edited to improve ease of understanding, as well as updating key information and links.

This is an important element of the ACNC’s work, highlighting the ACNC’s key priorities and compliance processes.

For more information or to download the updated Regulatory Approach Statement, visit the ACNC website.

ASIC fees

In July 2018, we were pleased to announce that charities registered with the ACNC that are also registered as companies limited by guarantee with ASIC were exempt from a proposed annual levy. In May 2018, we made a submission to the Treasury consultation on the matter and recommended that charities be exempt from paying levies to ASIC.

This was a positive outcome, as charities registered with the ACNC continue to be regulated free of charge at the Commonwealth level – a benefit that dates back to December 2012.

More recently ASIC have begun to contact companies limited by guarantee to remind them of their obligation to pay the industry funding levy. A small number of charities have reported that they have received an invoice from ASIC in error. If you believe your organisation should not have received an invoice, please contact ASIC as soon as possible. You can find more information about the industry funding levies and ASIC’s contact details on their website asic.gov.au.

Registration satisfaction hits 100 per cent

I would like to end this edition by congratulating the ACNC’s Registration team for their fantastic results in our continuous customer satisfaction survey.

All new applicants – whether their application is approved, refused or withdrawn – are asked to complete a short survey assessing their interactions with the ACNC’s registration team. In October, November and December 2018, the team scored 100 per cent for the overall quality of the service – a wonderful result.

The ACNC is dedicated to providing excellent customer service to our clients – and this result is a great reflection of that principle.

Best wishes,

The Hon Dr Gary Johns